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Wavelength 



CO INTENTS 

Fiction 

Wantin' Things 

Niki Aukema 36 

Des Beaux Arts 

Mia Carter 4 

Two Kids from Beyond the Sun 

Rob Collechia 13 

DICKIE IN MORTE TRIUMPHANS 

Jack Dashner 8 

The Return 

Phillip Glaser 34 

Loretta Sells the Piano 

Brian Patterson 30 

The First Time 

Judith Morrissey Umana 6 

Rats 

J.W. Walker 35 

Non-Fiction 

The Gully 

Anderson Archer 33 

The Declining Quality of Education in America: A Myth 

T-K Bowers 7 

A Man is Remembered 

Stephen Coronella 5 

Standing in the Hall 

BillFarrell 33 

Homophobia: Then and Now 

Peter Manale 10 

Photo Essay 

Roy Mediros 20 

Poetry 

Frank Afflitto, T.J. Anderson III, Niki Aukema, 

Russell Folsom, Jane Gale, J.B. Gerard, 

Stephanie Goldstein, Donald Kelly, Eileen McKinnon, 

Todd Parent, Stephen Sadowski, Cindy Schuster, Walter Wells 



Wavelength 



Editorial Director 

Nan Alexander 

Literary Editor 

Efren Alba 

Non-Fiction Editor 

Bill Bowers 

Fiction Editor 

David Moran 

Poetry Editor 

Allison Hurley 

Art and Production Manager 

Kerry Curtis 

All Cover Photos by Gail Rush 




B. Batmanghelidj 



Special Thanks To: 

Hap Halligan, for front cover graphics 

Bill Paradis, Editor Emeritus, for advice and moral support 



Volume 5, No. 1 
Fall 1983 



Wavelength Magazine is produced and financed by students at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Our phone 
number is 929-8336 and the office is located in Building 010, sixth floor, room 91. All correspondence and manuscripts 
should be mailed to: 

Wavelength Magazine 

University of Massachusetts/Boston 

Harbor Campus 02125 



Editorial 



Two-thirds of our tiny staff is new; before this issue was 
plunked down on the pavement they were publishing 
virgins, wondering how a magazine would be put together. 
Many questions were answered by collective common 
sense, some were answered by consulting past issues of the 
magazine, and quite a few answers came from experienced 
members of the staff as well as from the Editor Emeritus, 
whom we lost to the job market just before the midpoint of 
the semester. This situation, where there is always a new 
staff which is learning how to create a magazine, means 
that nothing ever becomes routine. It also means that there 
is no room to be a cog, that is, for a person to be content 
doing one small task over and over again in order to make 
the larger machine function. The publishing process at 
Wavelength is creative; there are no cogs here, and there are 
no rules which are written in stone. Everything is always 
new. 

If you suspect that this is leading up to the traditional 
editorial pitch to "submit!" you are right. Some things 
never change. No matter how good the submissions are the 
editor is always going to feel that some talented artist or 
writer is holding out. In the case of artists there must be 
many of you who are holding out. There were very few 
pieces of art submitted. (We did receive some fine 
photography, but for the moment I am using the word 
"art" to mean images created with the hands rather than 
with the lens.) 

If artists are worried that their work will not be treated 
with respect, they should come over to the office and meet 
Kerry Curtis, the art editor. He is conscientious, and 
handles submissions extremely carefully. There is even a 
special "vault" in the office, specifically intended for the 
safe-keeping of art works. Artists also have the option of 
copyrighting their work. Another excuse for not submitting 
work is, "It won't reproduce in black and white." Don't be 
so certain of that; the only way to know how something will 
reproduce is to photograph it in black and white and see 
what happens. We will do that for you. A final note to ar- 
tists and photographers: we are picky about the reproduc- 
tion and chose the most experienced concern to do the 
repro work for this issue. Of course, it ought to go without 
saying that published work enhances a portfolio con- 
siderably. 

In the non-fiction category there are certainly hold-outs. A 
good deal of non-fiction writing goes on around here, and it is 
called "writing papers." There is very little difference between 



a good paper and a good article. If you have written an ex- 
cellent paper, chances are that with minor revision it can 
become an article. Sure, getting the "A" is satisfying, but.see- 
ing your work typeset and printed, and then getting feedback 
from your peers, is even more satisfying. If you have a paper on 
a topic which you think might be interesting to the University 
community, then send it on over. If it gets here early enough in 
the process of publication we will even help you revise it- -which 
would usually be only a matter of deleting things which are too 
specific; revision, for our purposes, is like a tune-up rather than 
like rebuilding an engine. 

We are always looking for poetry and fiction. Please do not 
refrain from submitting because, "They would never publish 
this." How do you know what "they" would publish? "They" 
is not constant, and "they" is by no means a unanimous body. 
Just as the stylistic range of submissions was guite wide, so are 
"their" (the editors') tastes varied and divergent. For instance, 
for this issue what was "obviously" a gem to one staff member, 
seemed borderline to another. The process of selection was pro- 
cess of compromise and accomodation to variation. So if you 
have a traditional story, send it along. If you are experimenting 
with non-traditional techniques, send it along. You never can 
tell what "they" will go for, and it doesn't hurt to try. 

For the last four issues a good portion of the fiction has been 
refined in Jonathan Strong's Creative Writing classes. Certain- 
ly no conscious bias in favor of his students exists, but after he 
has worked with a student, the student's writing does, indeed, 
improve. Whatever he does seems to work. Jonathan's stay at 
UMass has come to an end, and we wish to thank him for his ex- 
cellent work here, which influenced the quality of submissions 
to the magazine and was, thus, a contribution in and of itself. 
We shall miss his fine-line marks in the margins, and we shall 
miss the encouragement he gives to writers who are uncertain 
of their abilities. Without his encouragement many worthy 
pieces of fiction would have remained in desk drawers forever. 

We also wish to thank the entire English department: pro- 
fessors and staff, and especially Niki. The magazine could not 
exist without their continued support. Nor could Wavelength 
exist without the support of SAC, and we are especially grateful 
for their patience and understanding during the confusion 
created by a mid-semester change of editorship. 

The process of putting out the Spring issue has already 
begun. We are starting all over again, and there will certainly 
be many differences from how things were done for this issue. 
Any new staff members will be welcomed, as will all new submis- 
sions. If you feel that you want to be part of the process, please 
join us, and please submit your best work for publication. 




De Beaux- Arts 



We must go to the show. It is my 
show, my images. My husband says to 
me, "The critics will be there. I hope 
we won't get burned." 

I glare at him. How dare you. I am 
not a woman easily scorched. 

We go. To the gallery opening. Im- 
peccably dressed. He is nervous. Of 
"us" getting burned. They are out in 
droves. The arsonists. I mingle. 
Waching them devour my images. 
They do an evil dance around me, like 
starved animals before the kill, 
disbelieving that this is food. 

I study a man studying a self- 
portrait. Studying me. Shot from a low 
angle. Off-center, in the diagonal of 
the frame. Naked on the beach, my 
mother scars, woman scars at the bot- 
tom, in the corner of the frame. He 
feels my presence, as he ought to. And 
turns, and smiles, and asks, 

"Where do you get your vision?" 

Your vision. Your vision. The echo. 
While he stands there echoing me, me 
echoing him, myself. Reflections not 
understanding each other. He between 
the knowing reflection of myself. I 
laugh at his absurd, foolish question, 
and walk away. 

The critics circle. 

My husband comes rushing at me. 

"Are you ok? I saw that man 
challenge you." 



Mia Carter 



Yes. My dear. My dear. I kiss his no- 
longer-firm cheek. I am beyond 
challenges now. 

We walk together. Glasses upraised, 
arms poised. Watching the arsonists, 
the critics. His stride anxious. I am 
floating, floating, not truly there. I can 
hear the ocean on that grey, solitary 
day. A reflection, an echo. I aim at 
myself and strip, naked. In my stride I 
am floating. I touch my husband's 
arm, saying thank you. For your 
asbestos care. We smile to each other, 
old and wise, never breaking stride. 
Our glasses upraised. Their amber 
glow cuts through the air like a silent 
siren. 

We watch them studying my images 
and stop to nestle close in front of a 
particularly telling one. Watching the 
watchers. The hair of his arm, my hus- 
band's, comforts me, as it has before. 
Spent nights and empty, anguished 
days. That gentle, stubbly brush has 
soothed me. We resume our stroll. 
Comrades, once passionate.Now we 
amble through the days. 

Later, they gather, the watchers, to 
question the artist. My husband moves 
to the very back of the room, as he 
often does. To shimmer me a steady 
reflection. I smile proud and ap- 
preciative. I answer the questions, in 
as dignified a manner as possible. 
Sometimes only saying: 

"Yes." 



"No." 
Or: 



"I have always been successful." 

His strength shimmers at me. 

A critic growls. Another follows suit. 
My husband no longer leans casually 
against the wall. His brows move 
downward, anxiously. 
I purr, with all my charm and poise, 
and all the rest. All of it. 

"I'm sorry. I do not, cannot dignify 
questions of the like." And smile, put- 
ting my amber filled glass on the bare 
cubical podium a gauche. And turn, a 
droit. 

He meets me, midway. As always, as 
ever. His bristling arms and asbestos 
care. I relax to him. My husband. We 
move, together, towards the door. I 
turn as we exit, to see the puzzled, still 
faces, the motionless bodies, the 
hunters, the arsonists, impotent 
without an object at which to hurl their 
fury. And it remains. The amber glow, 
poised on the cube of harsh, immobile 
white. Shimmering. Radiating. To us. 
A final toast. 

We leave, to face the red orange of 
one passing day. 




Robin Potter 



A Man Is Remembered 

by Stephen Coronella 



1 think about my grandfather often since his death. My 
last memories of him are not pleasant ones, but they 
are my most vivid reminders of this silent, lonesome 
figure. He never liked to be involved in family gather- 
ings, preferring instead the company of a television set 
and a glass of beer. For most of his grandchildren, whose 
visits dwindled over the years, he is suspended in one 
unalterable pose - slouched forward on the sofa, beer in 
hand, eyes fixed on the TV. He seemed hardened to the 
life around him. There was one time, though, that I saw 
him express a genuine joy, a joy so genuine that his eyes 
shone with a tearful brilliance. It was when my brother 
placed in the old man's arms a child, a great-grandson. 
The boy was bewildered, the man was overwhelmed. 

Using bits of biography gathered posthumously from 
my mother and grandmother, I find that my grandfather 
was an ordinary man. He endured a desolate childhood 
and watched silently as two sisters and a brother were 
sent to an unseen aunt here in the States. Feeding a 
family of seven is hard to do anywhere, anytime, but it 
was especially trying in Ireland at the turn of the cen- 
tury. Tuberculosis stalked the family, and by the time he 
came to this country in 1928, he was one of two surviving 
siblings. He was also by then a married man. My grand- 
mother followed him eleven months later. 

A family gradually formed. To put bread on the table 
and fuel on the fire, he worked an assortment of odd jobs 
during the Depression. Each could be collected under 
the same designation: laborer. His middle years were 
marked by no small adventures, no brief wanderings, 
nothing. From the day he first set foot on American soil 
until the day he died, the city of Cambridge, Mass., 
defined his world. He never returned to Ireland, not even 
for the shortest of visits, and rarely accompanied the 
family on vacations. Time simply consumed him. 

He retired at sixty-two, cut lawns and tidied hedges to 
keep busy, and courted his drink daily. Earlier in his life, 
he had turned to the bottle, as an Irishman will. For 
many years until his death, it seemed his only compa- 
nion. As my mother recalls, he could be sometimes cruel. 
I myself can remember one particularly upsetting con- 
frontation — between "the old man" and my 
father — during our regular Sunday afternoon visits. I 
like now to think that such scenes resulted invariably 
from his drunkenness. A monotonous life, steeped in 
hardship and neglect, no doubt contributed to his 
alcoholism, but the old man was reticent about it all. 

The unkindest cut of all, however, was the method of 
dispatch — an excruciating six-week-long bout with 
cancer which carried my grandfather away to a pitiless 
end. We lost him in full sight, the sickness dimming his 
consciousness until, by the final week, he was no longer a 
part of the pain and the hopelessness that we observed. 
Quite expectedly, I suppose, it was his illness that 
distinguished him to me. For years I had heard my 
parents speak of "the old man," creating in my child's 
«*mind the image of a distant, enigmatic figure, and now 
there he lay, old indeed and dying. My grandfather had 
finally taken form, but it was too late. 



I visited him frequently in the hospital, that is, more 
often than I normally would have had he been well. We 
spoke very little, but through his ever-sinking eyes he 
communicated his helplessness, his utter lack of control. 
He died at home, bent and broken, in a rented hospital 
bed. If he had had his way, I believe, the end would have 
come sooner. 

At the wake and funeral, there appeared the usual pro- 
cession of friends and relatives, of acquaintances surfac- 
ing after long years of silence. But they came more to 
comfort the bereaved than to reflect on the fallen. My 
grandfather's life was of little importance. We all knew 
that. 

He lay in wake for two days, and on the third was 
whisked, in a numbing cold, to a place among the dead. 
Though church bells pealed his departure, no one sent to 
know for whom they tolled. My grandfather was leaving 
this life exactly as he had entered it — with hardly 
another soul noticing. 




Mary Ellen Sullivan 



The First Time 

Judith Morrissey 

Umana 



Boy, Gail thought, she made us ride 
all the way over here and now we have 
to wait in the car. 

Being the oldest, Gail sat up in the 
front seat. She watched her mother 
walk away determinedly — tall, head 
up, with a bag in her hand containing 
the dress she was about to return, 
while Gail, her little sister Lisa, and 
her cousin Doreen, sat waiting in the 
car with the kind of boredom only 
August holds for young children. 

It was hot in the big, brown jeep, 
and a fat, old August fly buzzed lazily 
around the windsheild. Gail was study- 
ing her dirty toes while Lisa, standing 
in the back seat, babbled happily 
about getting her Minnow Certificate 
in swimming class. Gail didn't par- 
ticularly care that Lisa could put her 
face in the water, eyes open, and count 
her fingers. Besides, she'd heard it 
already about a million times. 

Doreen sat in the back seat next to 
Lisa. Her pinched-up, bratty face was 
bright red even at the very end of sum- 
mer. Gail didn't like Doreen and tried 
to avoid her if there was anyone even 
close to her age around to play with, 
but school was starting soon and all 
the summer kids had left the Cape. 

The local girls in Gail's 
neighborhood were either much older 
or much younger than she-a year or 
two makes a big difference when 
you're eight, so she'd asked Doreen 
along for the ride. 

Now Doreen was pouting because 
she had to sit in the back seat with 
Lisa. Well, too bad, thought Gail, its 
my car and my mother, and besides 
I'm the oldest. Gail always had to sit in 
the back when her older brother was in 
the car, and so she reasoned this only 
fair. 

Gail spotted a boy around her age 
spinning himself around in a shopping 
cart on the other side of the almost- 
empty parking lot. Gail hopped onto 
her knees on the seat and hung out the 
driver's side window watching the boy. 

He saw her at about the same time, 
and his spinning took on new intensity. 
He'd run as fast as possible pushing 
the cart in front of him and then jump 
on the front pushing down on the bar 
he held so that the cart would spin wid- 
ly on the two back wheels. 




He pretended not to hear the first 
two hi-i-i's that she called out the win- 
dow but responded quickly to the 
"you'd better be careful or you'll get 
hurt!" she'd scolded after getting no 
response. 

"No sir!" said the tattered-looking 
boy. "I can go ten times faster than 
this and I never get hurt." 

He looked different to Gail from the 
boys she knew, wilder, not cared for or 
cared about. He was painfully thin 
with dark, flashing eyes. 

"What kinda car is that? Lemme sit 
in that car." 

'It's a jeep. Yeah, come on. You can 
come in for a minute." Gail bounced 
over to the passenger side and the boy 
hopped into the driver's seat. He 
began spinning the steering wheel wid- 
ly back and forth. 

"How do ya drive this car, 
anyway?" he demanded, staring in- 
tently at the dashboard. 

"I don't know. You can't drive, 
anyway. Stop doing that. My mother's 
coming any minute." 

"I know how to drive-j ust no t this 
kinda car. Just show me how." 

Now he flung the clutch up and 
down. 

"Stop that! You better get outta this 



car now. My mother's coming any 
minute." 

"You and me'll run away and get 
married. Just show me how to drive 
this car." 

As frightened as Gail had become, 
this was the first marriage proposal 
she'd received. She was intrigued. 
After all, this was what everyone told 
her was the mark of success for a girl- 
you got married. So no matter how 
outlandish the proposal, she was flat- 
tered. 

"You get out of this car right now." 
Doreen suddenly shrieked from the 
back seat. 

He turned quickly toward her. 
Crack! He slapped Doreen full across 
the face so fast it took Gail a minute to 
comprehend just what had happened. 
She was fascinated. A slap across the 
face sounded just like you'd expect it 
to. 

Doreen's face was purple now, her 
mouth forming a perfect " 0" from 
which not a sound was emitted. Gail 
felt no compulsion to defend Doreen in 
any way. 

"You sit down," he snapped to Lisa. 

Lisa's small legs flung straight out 

Continued to page 39 




The Declining Quality of Education in America: a Myth 

by T.K. Bowers 



It is widely held today that the education of the American 
public is on the wane, including the fundamental moral 
and ethical training which has traditionally been assumed by 
parents and to a lesser extent, churches. Popular phrases such 
as "Johnny can't read" are constantly bandied about in the 
press and a federal investigative committee went so far as to 
describe what they saw as "a rising tide of mediocrity" in the 
nation's public schools. As could be expected, accusing fingers 
were pointed in every direction. Parents, teachers, students, ad- 
ministrators, government, and society were all to blame, depen- 
ding on who one spoke with. The question of what steps are to 
be taken in order to stem this "rising tide" is now being 
heatedly debated, as is that of who should implement them 
once they are agreed upon. It is an issue which is in the 
forefront of the media and is politically important, especially in 
the light of the upcoming election. In short, no one is sure what 
to do about it, but everyone seems to agree that education in 
the United States is in trouble and this deficiency is reflected in 
the general ignorance and apathy of the nation's young people. 
I, however, number myself among those few who find sound 
reasons to dissent from this popular view. I am, after all, a pro- 
duct of the American educational system and therefore feel I 
can speak with some authority on the subject. I've not only 
been witness to but have actually experienced the incredibly 
broad and in-depth schooling which is afforded one here. The 
beneficiaries of this intensive course of study emerge into 
adulthood fully possessing the basic skills needed to succeed in 
their world and much more. Their moral development especial- 



ly is carefully supervised and maintained by that excruciatingly 
responsible and conscientious mentor, television. This is 
reassuring since it is generally accepted as fact that the careful 
molding of young minds is vital to the success of a civilization. 
Through this wonderous medium our children become extreme- 
ly well versed in the proper attitudes towards sex and violence 
which will stand them in good stead as they wend their way 
through present-day life in America, fraught as it is with a 
myriad of temptations and inconsistencies. 



After all, who wants Huckleberry Finn or 
Moby Dick or today's headlines for that 
matter floating around one's head mud- 
dling thoughts in the middle of a hot Pac 
Man match? 



Even the most casual of glances will afford the observer 
many opportunities to see this intensive education in action. 
Everywhere one looks there are young people engaged in ac- 
tivities which can only further their development into good 
Americans. For instance, there was the high school acquain- 
tance of mine whose sensibilities were rightly appalled to see a 
middle-aged woman actually insert money into a newspaper 
machine which had already been opened by the man in front of 
her. She could easily have removed a paper when the man took 

Continued to page 40 



DICKIE IN 

MORTE 

TRIUMPHANS 

Jack Dashner 



Peter scooped up the last shovelful 
of manure and dumped it into the 
wheelbarrow with a practiced move- 
ment of his wrists, then leaned the 
shovel against the stall and backed 
carefully out of the shed, pulling the 
wheelbarrow. 

"Hey, don't you know you're sup- 
posed to push those things?" Peter 
glared across the corral at Colin, per- 
ched on the top rail of the fence, his 
fat, good-natured face dripping with 
sweat. 

"Did you bring the wrench?" Peter 
asked. 

Colin opened the corral gate then 
stepped back, holding his nose. "How 
can one horse make that much shit 
every day?" 

"The sonovabitch just does it to piss 
me off." Peter liked the sound of it 
when he swore, but he didn't want to 
get in the habit because he might slip 
in front of his parents, and he didn't 
want to give them any excuse to keep 
him in after supper for the rest of the 
summer. The ancient animal, secure in 
his years and privileged position in the 
family, paid no attention and went on 
eating oats from the bin in his wall-less 
shed. 

Quickly dumping the wheelbarrow, 
Peter turned and ran it back across the 
corral to where Colin had the garden 
hose stretched it its limit. As soon as 
the wheelbarrow was hosed clean the 
boys attacked the four bolts holding its 
bucket to the frame. 

"Good thing I put penetrating oil on 
these last night." Colin was smug; 
Peter might come up with all the ideas, 
but it was Colin who knew how to use 
tools and equipment to carry them out. 

"Just don't lose the nuts and bolts. I 
have to have this thing back together 
before my father comes home." Peter 
watched Colin push the bolts into his 
pocket and then pick up the bucket of 
the wheelbarrow and invert it on top of 
his head like a huge helmet. 

"Your head is going to smell like 
horse shit." 



"So what! Maybe I like horse shit." 
But Colin lifted the bucket away from 
his head as they started across the cor- 
ral towards the woods behind the 
house. 

Dickie, the horse, turned one evil, 
yellow eye toward the boys, picked up 
one of his hind legs as though to kick, 
then, as if thinking better of it lowered 
the leg and emitted a long rasping fart 
just as Peter passed behind him. 

"Jesus Christ!" Peter leaped over 
the fence to where Colin lay convulsed 
on the ground with laughter. 

"God!" That was better than 
anything Quimby could do." 

Quimby was Donald Quimby, the 
smallest member of their gang, whose 
chief talent lay in being able to gulp 
air as though he were drinking it, and 
then fart enormously. He saved his 
masterpieces for a quiet time in class 
where Miss Downes, their sixth grade 
teacher, was much too genteel even to 
acknowledge the existence of such a 
sound. Colin swore that on some of 
Quimby's best efforts he could actually 
see the milk money on Miss Downes's 
desk vibrating. 

They moved down a narrow path, 
and soon Peter held out his arm to stop 
Colin. 

"The signal. Don't forget the 
signal." Peter cupped his hands 
around his mouth and made a hooting 
sound. 

"I don't know if that's too cool," 
Colin whispered. "Owls aren't suppos- 
ed to be hooting the daytime." 

A gigantic fart echoed through the 
now silent woods, and Peter stomped 
angrily into the small clearing. 

"Quimby, you're supposed to whis- 
tle like a bluejay." 

"That was a bluejay fart." 

"O.K., asshole, you're out of the 
gang." 

"Wait a minute, wait a minute." 
The speaker was a tall boy with thick 
glasses and pimples; the vaguest trace 
of a moustache darkened his upper lip. 

"You on his side, Gershon?" 

"No, but we could hear you guys 
coming since you left your yard. 
Besides, me and Quimby got 
everything ready to go." 

Peter decided to forget the incident 
in view of the fact that Quimby was 
such a good worker and also supplied 
some of the key material for their 
latest project. 

"Did you find a suitable 



projectile?" Peter loved to use big 
words in front of what he thought of as 
his troops. 

"Yeah, we got a nice round boulder 
that weighs one hundred and twenty- 
eight pounds." Quimby was very mat- 
ter of fact. 

"How do you know how much it 
weighs?" asked Colin. 

Quimby choked back a laugh and 
pointed to Gershon. 

"Yeah, and we're going to have to 
buy my mother a new bathroom scale 
too, you jerk." 

"What happened?" Peter tried to 
keep an appropriately sympathetic 
look as he surveyed the mangled pink 
plastic remains. Colin and Quimby 
snickered in the background. 

Gershon pushed his glasses up with 
grimy finger and sat down on a nearby 
stump, happy to be the center of atten- 
tion. "Well, after we weighed the 
stone, shithead thought we ought to 
weight the counterweight too, so we 
put the scale under it..." 

"He was almost the first projectile," 
interrupted Quimby. 

"Shut up and let me tell it! Anyway, 
we put the scale under the 
counterweight of the catapult, which I 
might add was cocked." He glared at 
Quimby. 

"Yeah, but I thought you were..." 

Shut up! I'll tell them. Anyhow, the 
idea was for me to sit on the projectile 
end and Quimby would cut the rope 
and jump on, too. We figured that 
since we weighed twice as much as the 
stone, the counterweight would go 
down slow." 

All eyes turned to "the project." It 
was in the form of a gigantic saw horse 
with a fifty-foot-long ash trunk balanc- 
ed across it; Peter had insisted on ash 
because that was what the book from 
the library had said the Romans used. 
At one end of the beam was attached a 
fifty-five gallon drum filled with sand. 
At the other end the trunk forked into 
a huge "y." The midpoint of the trunk 
was lashed tightly to the cross piece of 
the saw horse, which was about eight 
feet off the ground, and the four legs 
of the device were buried deeply in the 
sandy loam of the clearing. There was 
a deep indentation under the 
counterweight, where it had slammed 
down, and a block and tackle — used 
for cocking purposes — lay at the other 
end. 

Peter was grinning now, too. "How 



8 



it feel?" 

"Are you kidding? Gershon had to 
go home and change his pants." 
Quimby and Colin were stamping on 
the ground in delight. 

"Yeah, bullshit, Quimby! 
Remember when you thought you were 
blind from the napalm?" 

"Oh God! That was pissah." 

Colin had tears in his eyes now; he 
was pounding the ground in ecstasy. 

The naplam had been another of 
Peter's ideas. He had read in a 
newspaper how the heroic freedom 
fighters in Budapest had mixed 
gasoline and soap powder in their 
Molotov cocktails to use against the 
Russian tanks. 

"Okay, okay, let's get this thing 
finished." Peter was taking command 
again. 

"Did you guys bring the wat- 
chamacallit, uh, what do you call that 
part of the wheelbarrow, Peter?" 

Peter didn't like not having an 
answer for any question. "Uh, yeah." 
He paused. "It's the, uh, mangonel on 
the catapult. I forget what it is on a 
wheelbarrow." 

Colin and Quimby were busily lash- 
ing the wheelbarrow's bucket tightly to 



the fork in the end of the trunk. 

"Think this sucker will shoot all the 
way to the pond?" asked Gershon. 

Peter tried to look scientific. "Well, 
if my calculations are correct, it will 
land somewhere in the pond, or in the 
cornfield in front of it." 

"What calculations?" 

"Don't worry about it. It'll land in 
the pond. Besides, my house is the only 
one between here and the pond. If I'm 
not worried about it, why should you 
be?" 

"Okay, Peter, it's ready." Colin and 
Gershon lifted the stone into the 
bucket and looked expectantly at 
Peter. 

"Ready? Okay, pass me my sword, 
Quimby." 

"You mean the machete?" 

"Look, do you want to be in this 
gang, or what?" 

Gershon picked up the machete and 
handed it to Peter. "Never mind, cap- 
tain, here's your sword." 

"Maybe we should have a forward 
observer," said Peter, looking pointed- 
ly at Quimby. 

"Naw, we all want to see it go off. 
We can just walk along the flight path; 
if we don't find the stone in the corn- 



field, we'll know it landed in the pond. 
Cut the rope." 

Peter took a firm grip on the 
machete, looked meaningfully around 
at the other three and swung with all 
his might. The bucket, with the stone 
rising roundly out of it, rose about six 
inches and then seemed to hesitate as 
the beam flexed. Suddenly, the bucket 
whipped upward, and the ground 
trembled beneath their feet as the 
counterweight thudded down. 

"Wow!" 

"Holy Mackerel!" 

"Pissssah!" 

The boulder was climbing, as if 
under its own power, slowly turning 
end over end and growing smaller by 
the instant. 

Colin looked up at it pensively and 
then made his pronouncement. "It's 
going straight up. What goes straight 
up must come straight dow--" 

"Holy shit! Every man for himself!" 
screamed Peter. Quimby was already 
streaking into the woods on the far 
side of the clearing. 

Peter ran blindly through the woods. 
Branches and thorns tore at his face 

Continued to page 39 




Ellen Ryan 



Violence Against Gays: 
Homophobia Then and Now 



"T\T umbers have dehumanized us. So begins Daiton 
•*■ 1 Trumbo in the 1970 introduction to his classic anti- 
war novel Johnny Got His Gun. 

"An equation:" Trumbo continues, "40,000 dead young men 
= 3,000 tons of bone and flesh, 124,000 pounds of brain mat- 
ter, 50,000 gallons of blood, 1,840,000 years of life that will 
never be lived... Do we scream in the night when [this] touches 
our dreams? No. We don't dream about it because we don't 
care about it." 

While Mr. Trumbo was discussing our society's lack of con- 
cern about the death of Americans in the Vietnam War, he 
might just as easily have been referring to worldwide apathy 
about the countless gay men who perished under the tyranny of 
Adolf Hitler. Estimtes of the number dead range anywhere 
from 10,000 to 1,000,000. 

Such numbers are overwhelming. We cannot even begin to 
grasp the total personal loss involved in such destruction. We 
can look at Nazi pictures of the heaps of emaciated corpses 
thrown together like kindling — but we must quickly avert our 
gaze; the horror is too much to contemplate. 

We can attempt to understand the gravity of this atrocity by 
linking it with fictional scenarios. If, for example, deranged ad- 
ministrators at U Mass-Boston summoned all students to a 
"special meeting" and systematically shot each student upon 
arrival the massacre would be close to the most conservative 
estimates on the number of gay men who lost their lives under 
Nazi domination. 

These comparisons are somehow more palatable. The body 
count seems less threatening. By removing our attention from 
the reality of the past onto an unlikely (but more immediate) 
situation, the totality of human life obliterated is less un- 
fathomable. We can begin to understand the significance of the 
numbers. 

While it is important to come to grips with the magnitude of 
the destruction, another important step in facing the past is to 
realize the humiliation and anguish inflicted upon the in- 
dividual under these hellish conditions. Individuals were ar- 
rested; individuals were tortured; individuals' lives were 
abruptly disrupted and destroyed. It is only on this level that 
we — as individuals — can truly perceive the inhumanity to- 
ward gays at the hands of the Nazis. It is only by realizing the 
agony of the individual that the number of men who died truly 
becomes real for us. 

Last year, my lover and I attended a local production of the 
play Bent by Martin Sherman. Like the novel Johnny Got His 
Gun — which proved to be an effective and moving condemna- 
tion of war — Bent concentrates on the life of one man who 
must hopelessly struggle against adverse conditions. The play 
chronicles the life of Max, a gay man who, with his lover, is ar- 
rested by the Nazis. On route to Dachau, his lover is fatally 
wounded by sadistic guards and thrown at Max's feet. Max, 
frightened for his own safety and with his life in danger, 
disavows his relationship with the dying man. The guards not 
only force Max to beat his lover but also to deny their "friend- 
ship" with each blow. 

In the camp, despite deprivation and the harshness of the 
work, Max while posing as a Jew befriends another gay prisoner 
who leads him to feel and love again, and to be proud of his gay 
identity. Suspicious of their relationship, an SS captain 
demands that Max watch as his new lover is commanded to walk 



Peter Manale 

into an electrified fence. The lover instead charges the captain 
and is shot to death. Max, unable to endure any more, puts on 
his lover's tattered jacket with a large pink triangle sewn on the 
front, which brands the prisoner a homosexual — and ends his 
life by — walking into the fence. l 

Sitting through Bent was an unpleasant and distressing ex- 
perience, but a necessary one; the drama was overwhelming. 
Not only did the play graphically depict the cruelty of the Nazis 
against gays, but, more importantly, it emphasized the emo- 
tional as well as physical damage of this unjustified punishment 
on three-dimensional victims. For the first time the nameless, 
faceless numbers, the numbers of dead, became real. And the 
numbers could no longer be so easily dismissed or forgotten. 

The Nazis implemented one of the most blatant and brutal 
forms of legalized homophobia the world has ever seen: the im- 
prisonment and murder of tens of thousands of individuals sole- 
ly on the basis of their sexual orientation. Unlike the Jews, most 
homosexuals were not taken directly to extermination camps, 
but rather to forced-labor camps where, under deliberately 
harsh and deplorable conditions, "the average life expectancy 
for the prisoners could be no more than a matter of months. 
The general fate of homosexual prisoners was to be worked to 
death, or to die of brutality in the process. The 'surplus' of the 
homosexual concentration population [was] deported to 
Auschwitz. " 2 Exhaustion, starvation, work-related injuries, il- 
lness, beatings, shootings, torture, suicide, and medical ex- 
perimentation were typical reasons for death. 



The Nazis did not invent homophobia; 
they merely knew how to draw out and 
manipulate this hatred for their own 
destructive ends. 



The rationalizations offered by the Nazis for the persecution 
and killing of gays were far from original. Explainations in 
Frank Rector's The Nazi Extermination of Homosexuals^ in- 
clude the following: (1) Homosexuals are weak and effeminate 
degenerates and thus a threat to national security which relies 
on the brute strength of "real" men. (2) Homosexuals, because 
they do not produce offspring, are forced to recruit from the 
"normal" population of young men. The presence of gays 
within the ranks of the SS and other paramilitary organization 
poses a special threat to the purity of these groups. "Such a 
man always drags ten others after him, otherwise he can't sur- 
vive," observed Himmler. 4 3) Homosexuals who don't have 
children are threats to the survival and continuation of the Ger- 
man race. (4) Homosexuals who do have children must also be 
condemned; inevitably they will pass along and perpetuate 
their despicable condition. 

By fabricating and campaigning against these "threats" pos- 
ed by gays, the Nazis were able to incite the already-existing 
homophobic feelings of the masses to the point that the roun- 
ding up, incarceration, and butchering of known homosexuals 
became an acceptable and moral solution. The Nazis did not 
invent homophobia; they merely knew how to draw out and 
manipulate this hatred for their own destructive ends. 

A few psychologists (far fewer than those who are narrowly 
preoccupied with the genesis of homosexuality itself) have 
speculated on the causes of homophobia. One theory suggests 
that the persecution of lesbians and gay men stems from the 



10 



persecutors' own struggles with supressed homosexual feelings. 
To fight against these hidden urges, the individual strikes out 
at a known homosexual. In effect, the individual attempts to 
squelch her/his own feelings by extirpating all objects of temp- 
tation. While this theory of reaction formation no doubt ex- 
plains the motivations of some homophobes, it is unlikely that 
all homophobes are closet homosexuals. 

Other theories propose that homophobia arises within 
societies that are sexually repressive and/or maintain strict and 
distinct roles for men and women. By punishing individuals 
who are accused of straying from the norm, the desirability of 
"normal" traits is reinforced. Gays, labeled "abnormal," 
become easy targets. Society castigates them for reasons of 
gender role as well as sexual expressiveness. This may explain 
why sterotypes that all gays are frivolously promiscuous and 
"dykey" or "sissified" persist — even with substantial 
evidence to the contrary. 

These theories may come closer to explaining the underlying 
reasons for homophobia in Germany in the late Thirties around 
the time of Hitler's rise to power. A shift in public sentiment 
demanded a return to conservatism, both in defining accep- 
table sexual behavior and in delegating disparate roles for men 
and women. The higher status was granted lopsidedly to the 
males. The glorification of masculinity as defined by the Nazis 
led inevitably to the degradation of anything considered un- 
masculine, e.g., homosexuality. By making scapegoats of 
homosexual men who were labeled as sexual perverts and ef- 
feminate the Nazis effectively stressed the consequences of sex- 
ual and gender nonconformity. 

And the consequence for thousands of gays was death. At- 
tempts to publicize the Nazi treatment of homosexuals have 
been impeded on many fronts. Homosexuals were a distinct, 
visible group within the German camps, identified by con- 
spicuous pink triangles on their prison garb. After liberation 
this reality was — and continues to be — suppressed and ig- 
nored. Historians have all but overlooked the mass murder of 
gays in Nazi Germany. Western grovernments, in their 
memorials and museums, have refused to expose the slaughter- 
ing of homosexuals. While we seem ready and eager to 
categorize the homosexual as a criminal, pervert, molester, and 
a host of other labels — there is still a reluctance to identify 
any gay person as victim. Some of this suppression, ironically 
enough, comes from individuals who may also have been vic- 
tims of fascist Germany: 

Item: In 1978 a commission in West Hartford, Connec- 
ticut decided that gay victims would not be acknowledg- 
ed in a memorial monument to honor those persecuted 
and murdered by the Nazis. Defending this decision, 
Rabbi Issac Avigdor proclaimed that "homosexuality is 
a sin in the Biblical sense. I am not out to fight homosex- 
uals but I won't insult the Jewish people by placing 
them in the same monument as with homosexuals." 5 
When we examine the persecution of gays by the Nazis, we 
cannot do so without addressing the destruction also wrought 
upon other groups within Nazi Germany, most notably the 
Jews. Their extermination far surpassed the destruction of 
gays. While we must continue to vigorously examine and 
publicize the effects of anti-semitism in Nazi Germany, we can- 
not let this effort completely overshadow or diminish our ex- 
ploration of gay persecution. Some would not agree. 
/TIEM-Reviewing a book abouth the death of gays by the Nazis 
(written by a gay man), a writer in the New York Times was an- 
noyed that "some homosexuals -following a path well trodden 
by other non-Jewish victims of the Nazis - - are now trying to 
deny the unique place of Hitler's war against the Jews in the an- 
nals of evil... A homosexual could obivously have minimized his 
chances of detection by staying in the closet." 6 



Oppression is oppression, regardless of the targets or the 
body count involved. Surely in our information-rich culture the 
disclosure of other sides of Nazi violence (including the killing 
of gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, mental patients, and those 
found to be politically incorrect, among others) should pose no 
threat to the well — established fact of the Holocaust. It is un- 
thinkable, however, that we should place one historical atrocity 
in competition with another, with the assumption that only the 
most horrifying will be revealed, examined, and condemned. 
Oppression of all kinds must be fought at the source, not by 
blaming the victims or by pitting victim against victim. 



••*••••**•••*•*•*•• 



Adolf Hitler is dead. The Third Reich is no more. Yet, outliv- 
ing all political regimes, homophobia persists. 

ITEM: Following the overthrow of the Nazis, the new 
government in West Germany suggested that a small 
financial payment should be made to surviving camp vic- 
tims as a token gestfire of restitution for their persecu- 
tion. Such compensation, a sympathetic acknowledgment 
of the suffering endured by the survivors, was offered to 
all victims - - except homosexuals. Those gays who sur- 
vived Nazi internment were still considered criminals 
and not worthy of restitution. 

While virtually no society today would socially or politically 
condone the harsh treatment of gays by the Nazis, homosexual- 
ly is, at best, uneasily tolerated.( A clear distinction must be 
made between "tolerance" and "acceptance.") At worst, 
harassment and violence against gays continues. The 
homophobia is evident. 

ITEM: Queer-bashing has become a popular sport for 
some adolescents and young adults. These groups of 
heterosexuals seek out homosexual targets (usually in ur- 
ban, gay communities) and attack, maim, and sometimes 
murder their victims. 

In Providence, Rhode Island, for instance, a few months ago 
six males, all in their early 20's, harassed another man they en- 
countered in the vicinity of a gay bar. Following him, they 
taunted him, "Are you a faggot?" Presumably the man was: he 
was cornered in an alley and beaten up and thrown to the 
ground, where he was repeatedly kicked in his face and 
stomach., 

ITEM: Greg Dixon, national secretary of the Moral 
Majority, revealed the depth of his hatred for gays in the 
candid statement:"I say either fry 'em or put them in a 
pen. Don't unleash them on the human race. ..I don't 
know how you can ever get [society] to put these 
homosexuals to death, but God's word would uphold 
that. They which comit such things are worthy of 
death, (sic)", 

ITEM:"l think you lesbians are scum. You're the 
sickest things on earth. You're the most disgusting 
things that have ever come to Northampton," said an 
anonymous caller to a telephone answering machine 
belonging to a prominent lesbian in the Northampton, 
Massachusetts, community. 

A note left at a feminist bookstore was addressed "To all 
homosexual groups: We as a community are sick of the threat 
of Gay Life to our children, Families, and life in this city... we 
are dedicated. ..to the 'eradication' of gays in this area. We will 
root out and expel the extremist homosexual germ by peaceful 
or violent means." A group called SHUN (Stop Homosexual 
Unity Now) claimed responsibility for the letter. 

Continued to page 40 



11 



Two Kids From Beyond the Sun 



Rob Colecchia 



Rowan and Serj come from a planet 
where time is subject to individual 
perception. When these bright kids 
first encountered Earth on the 
Hologram Reality Screen, to their 
dismay they found her to be a barren 
planet. The Hologram Reality Screen 
is part of a communications station 
which can be found in every communi- 
ty on their planet. This technology 
allowed Rowan, and her boyfriend 
Serj, to plug in films and tapes they 
had found of Earth and, in this way, 
create various realities. They began to 
take their project a bit further, and 
this is how they became outlaws. I 
mean, Christ, she was thirteen and he 
was sixteen and they were fucking 
around with things like history, 
holograms, and time. They were 
blatantly breaking the law, so they 
split. 

After viewing the film The Wizard 
of Oz, they visited the Middle East in 
the time of Moses. Now, Rowan pro- 
jected herself as the all-powerful 
Wizard, 'cause she found Moses 
somewhat of a sexist, but Moses and 
his people took the whole thing too 
seriously, so they moved on. Then 
Rowan decided to be God, and she sug- 
gested that she and Serj travel apart 
for awhile; Serj decided he was no 
more than a hologram himself, and 
took the name Holy Spirit with the in- 
tention of pointing himself at earth. 
They decided they would meet once a 
year, and then kissed each other good- 
bye. 

Maybe the crazy Indian poet who 
hung around the monument made the 
whole story up to freak out the tourists. 
This was 1953. Within a generation 
the whole town would be mostly con- 
trolled by Moonies. The Indian was 
much more prolific and a hell of a lot 
more creative than Reverend Moon. 
Perhaps the Poet planted the ficticious 
scrolls in the caves, just a mile or so 
from the heart of Gloucester, Mass., so 
he would have something to keep him 
smiling in that dismal time. Could the 
Jehovah in the Old Testament really 
be a thirteen year old girl who walks 
her Irish Setter across time? The In- 
dian would talk of a colony, long ago, 



made up of renegades from one of Col- 
umbus's ships. The sailors, he said, liv- 
ed in this colony with some Indians, 
and these two kids would teach them to 
talk to dolphins, or they would just sit 
around in this grassy field playing with 
the machines the kids had brought by. 
Most of the time they would share in 
story telling and teaching each other 
about the way they lived. The dolphins 
were great at helping them find con- 
nections. 

Things got strange for me after 
meeting the Indian in Gloucester in 
1953. The police came and took him in 
and he left town, probably to disturb 
the minds of tourists somehere else. 
Anyway, I took the scrolls from the 
caves and thought a lot about dolphins 
and sailors and kids from outer space. 
Indians and dolphins I thought of, in 
comic book fashion, and took on the 
religious ideas of the ages. I guess 
those sailors didn't have the heart for 
mutiny, so when Columbus landed in 
Cuba, they somehow made their way to 
Gloucester. 

The Holy Spirit moved along 
through the heart of things, driving a 
red astral Mustang. Very Zen, he 
screeched the auto to a halt, pulled a 
fresh pack of Lucky Strikes from his 
vest and packed them abruptly on the 
hood of the car. The Holy Spirit walk- 
ed his German Shepherd to New 
England water. He met God there, by 
the river. As always, She was with her 
Irish Setter. She never grew up, but 
the Irish Setter did. 

"He looks more like a wise old lion 
than an Irish Setter," the Holy Spirit 
observed. 

Then she offered him a demitasse 
cup, poured some expresso into it, and 
cried, "You are the word man." 

And he said, "I know. You are too." 
Spirit lit a cigarette and watched 
Autumn colorfully snatch every leaf 
from every tree. The leaves changed 
from florescent and full to pale brown 
and then floated on the river. 

Spirit waited there 'till God was 
skating on the new ice--her Irish Setter 
waiting on the bank. Spirit just watch- 
ed. She skated over to him and they 
talked about the things they had seen 



and felt together, like the time they 
had met that guy in Nazereth who 
could walk on water. Then God asked 
him, smiling, "Remember Lenny, and 
the wild Indian poet eating peyote in 
that upper room in the Village?" 

Spirit paused, thinking, then 
replied, "Yeah, we drove bikes with 
Che, checked out the situation in 
Bolivia right around that time." 

And God got to looking very sad, 
and said, "All three of those guys died 
too soon: crucified by The Man. Oh 
well. I wonder where that German 
Shepherd went. She always runs off." 

The Irish Setter was drinking the 
water from the ice and snow that 
melted behind the Spirit and God as 
they walked away from the river and 
headed across the field. The three of 
them rolled around on the ground. 
Then God and the Spirit made love. 
God's dog was staring at the German 
Shepherd that was making its way 
from a distant wooded grove. 

Spirit said, "It's getting late. Got to 
drive back to the concrete." German 
Shepherd ran to the car and jumped 
into the red Mustang convertible. 
Spirit said, "See you soon," and God 
just smiled good-bye. Spirit put the 
auto in astral and moved on through 
the heart of things. 

Snow beneath the wheels, causing 
the car to slip. Windshield wipers 
brushing rainbows. Sun on the conver- 
tible roof. Irish setter, orange, looking 
like a lion, eating food from the hand 
of a forever thirteen-year-old female 
God. God in the valley, the Spirit on 
the highway, mocking time: eternally 
sixteen, but he's only five in his heart. 

Spirit's dreaming of the next year, 
driving on base level knowledge with 
one hand, the other hand lighting a 
Lucky Strike that's dangling from his 
lips; he throws the black lighter on the 
dash. The Holy Spirit just smiles, puts 
a tape into system, and whispers, "I 
guess we are all on our own." 



13 



Spring Wavelength Contest 

There will be a contest for artists, photographers, fiction writers and essayists. The win- 
ning writers will be invited to participate in a public reading, and the winning artists and 
photographers will be invited to mount a show of their works. 
Deadlines rMonday, March 5th for written material 
Friday, March 6th for visual material 

You need not enter the contest to submit, but we will assume that all submissions are 
entries unless you indicate otherwise. If you win, you need not participate in the public 
event. 
Please leave work: 

1) at the Wavelength office (1-6-091) of if nobody's there, 

2) in the English department office (1-6) in the Wavelength mail slot, or 

3) in the SAC office (1-4-181) in the Wavelength mail slot. 
When submitting: 

Photographers- -please write your name on the back of every photograph, and include ad- 
dress and phone number with submission. 

Writers- -we also need your address and phone number.(Poets- -put this on every poem, 
please.) 

Please do not submit your only copy of anything. If there is an easy way to reach you on 
campus it would be helpful if you indicated where and when along with your home 
number. 



CORNER COURT 



She crosses the street 

At the corner. 

Caressing her sweater 

Stroking the stares 

That gaze at her symmetry. 

We were not first 

Not the first to notice 

To watch thighs beat together 

Our bodies thinking 

Wanting to be elsewhere 

Cocktails at Two A.M. in her flat 

Tucked by the shadow of her outline 

Light borrowed from a quartered moon 

She is foreign to us 

Accent carved by teenage lust. 

We talk as she passes 

Faces pressed against store glass 

Stretched around the corner 

Eyelids popped shut 

Closed behind our need to judge. 



T.J. Anderson III 



PEGASUSS RIDER 

Somewhere between February and March 

Pegasus rode across the suburban night 

With hoof-prints indenting the darkness. 

She too is a refugee. 

Just like the charging horse 

Corralled by her fears 

and has crusted sleep draping from swollen eyes. 

Her husband sits in a tavern with friends. 

Laughing in stained corduroy suits 

And pinching a young girl's ass. 

Marooned at her window 

She waits for him, empty and intimate. 

She wants to ride Pegasus. 

Ah, but to keep the fire burning 

And pass it on to strangers. 

However, to her it's useless. 

Whiskey is more likely to burn. 

So, she drinks from a bottle, uncheated. 

I phoned her asking to speak to him. 

Said he wasn't in. 

Told me she was tired of waiting on him 

And dipping potato chips into sour cream 

And having them crumble 

Before they can reach her mouth. 



T.J. Anderson III 



14 



HAULING MUD 



Under the superstitious glance 
of a green sunset 
Cap'n Johnny staggers from 
the wheelhouse clutching his 
Dewar's and rocks and 
belches the command: 
CAST OFF YOU BASTARDS! 
the diesel bitches, I 
rush to fix supper — 
corned beef, cabbage, hot 
gingerbread and warm cool 
whip. After the plates are cleared, 
the galley scrubbed, I smoke 
on the fantail as we rumble 
through the Fore River Gut 
into the open sea 

The scow's fixed fast to 

our starboard hip 

loaded with five thousand 

yards of slick grey mud 

reflecting a three quarter yellow moon. 

The clouds pile 

on the horizon 

and the phosphorus 

awakens in the swells. 

We'll hit the twenty-mile mark 

about three A.M; 

dump our precious cargo, 

then I'll take the wheelwatch 

and head us for home. 

From my bunk I see 

huge lanterns dangling 

in the summer night sky. 

Jarred from sleep, I 

struggle to open 

the watertight hatch 

into a howling sou'wester 

and the deck's awash 

with roiling foam. 

I slide on hip 

boots and oilskins 

— those snug steel 

toes reassure me. 

Steadying my sealegs on 

the pitching deck, all 

I can think is: 

"I must get to the galley and 

make fresh coffee." 

Instinctively searching 

the horizon for Boston Light 

but it's not there 

— only sheets of black rain that 

stings my face as the panic crawls 

up my back 

When the lighting strikes 
for an instant it's high noon 
the city's under attack 
— we're not doing 
much better out here. 



Over the wind 

and thunder I hear 

Johnny growl in the wheelhouse above: 

KEEP HER ON COURSE DAMNIT! 

I wonder if he's called 

the Coast Guard yet. 

Steaming coffeepot and 

hot-mitt in hand, I inch 

up the gaily ladder into 

the wheelhouse, where radio 

chatter and the glow 

of radar comforts me. 

Charlie the Mate snaps: 

"Take the rudder — she's 

heeling bad to port." 

He snatches the coffee pot, 

pours me a cup, then 

they disappear below. 

I lock my arms and grip the 
tarnished brass wheel with 
sweaty palms while Johnny 
barks at me: 

WATCH OUT FOR THAT GODDAMN 
'B' BUOY ON THE SCOPE 
The scow, now an empty pull- 
toy, skids behind us on 
a hundred-yard hawser. 

Trapped in this half-moon terrarium, 

just a speck on the ocean with 

radar and compass for eyes, 

I feel lonely and helpless 

wishing I was somewhere, anywhere else 

as the whitecaps keep slamming us 

with cruel precision, 

I flick on the searchlight, 

aim it at the bow riding 

too low in the water. 

The squalls look like islands 

threatening me on radar. I 

track their approach, crouched at 

my post, bracing for the grinding crunch 

of steel and rock which never comes. 

I am a pseudo-seaman! And 
the rest of the crew is 
SLEEPING THROUGH THIS! 
The wheel and I are 
one, my knees jammmed into 
the spokes, knuckles whitening, 
my mechanical eyes check 
radar and course, my paranoid 
mind distrusts them both. 
We're twelve miles out but 
it seems like a thousand. 
I turn her into the wind 
and my thoughts 
keep sinking and drowning. 



Todd Parent 



15 



OF NATURAL CAUSES 

(en nuestras barrancas controamericanas) 

For us, the cause consistent with the norm 
(thus, 'natural') is the garrotte. Wrists bound 
behind, redundant stimata conform: 
the welts where burning cigarettes were ground; 

torn organs, lewdly twisted limbs, attest 
that priapism complements their hate 
(insensate else), and lends them ribald zest- 
dull, vicious clones — picked warders of the State 

The feral will — possession of the means — 
(sufficient natural cause at Wounded Knee, 
Chapultepec, My Lai) glut our ravines 
with daily quotas of obscentity. 

The Yanqui Congress (naturally), to build 
Democracy, botes funds to keep them filled. 



Walter Wells 




Photo from the exhibit "Terminal 
New York" 



16 



CONVERSATION WITH MYSELF 



the tulips are opening 

in my living room 

give to me so that i can smile 

Amy taught me how 

to cut them the best way 

allowing for greater water flow 

who'd have thought i'd grow 

up in a world where you have to pay 

for flowers 

but i'm so far beyond 

disillusionment now 

after assuming responsibility for it all 

give to me so that i can smile 

there's a strong Bolivian 
rhythm in my head 
there's a step-on-the-gas 
kind of feeling in my head 
there's a young man inside of me 
who can give to his roots, his class 
and dare to advance 

somewhere to take each other: 

we can have government of the people 

that will bring us flowers each day 

we have 

somewhere to take each other 

after jobs and respect 

we can have flowers 

Frank Afflitto 



MY CLUMSIEST DEAR 



NADIA 

i bummed 

that cigarette from your lips 

your looks 

didn't incite my desire to know 

of you rather 

your heritage 

your tragedy 

your strength 

your future 

i'd suck your Lebanese saliva 

from this butt dry 

to bring back your family 

i'd hijack a cigarette corporation 

to bring back your family 

i'd steal Winston-Salem, North Carolina 

to avenge your family 

overrun the graveyards 

yellow marigolds in your hair 

if your own personal dictionary 

could eliminate the term "refugee" 

if your people's status could be 

defined by the term "free" 

if dreams are for dreaming 

here i come... 

i'U work my tail off 

and i will 

Nadia, Nadia 

and i will 



You stumble through life in the wake of destruction 

Leaving debris wherever you go 

Your day is an eruption of minor disasters 

And a list of casualties that continues to grow 

A mumbled apology forever on your lips 
Always late — No never on time 
A spiller of drinks, a breaker of crystal 
And a master of accidents sublime 

Some call you clumsy, others — "a fool" 
And some, well they don't know you at all 
But I for one wouldn't trade one last stain 
For the chance to soften your fall 



Frank Afflitto 



Eileen McKinnon 



17 



EXPATRIATE 



Some steps, once taken 

can never be retraced. 

and so it was 

that I became homeless. 

Not 

because I failed to make this home- 

but 

because I did. 

The best, I carried into this exile 

left the better still behind. 

So that— 

looking down the street 

there is always: 

the long view 

a surf-stretching Forward 
and the longer remembrance 

an undertow-pulling Back. 

That gives no reciprocity. 

And they leave me 

with no place to return to. 



J.B. Gerard 






r* 1 
1" 


U- I 


I \ 




Sally Jacobson 



18 




A NAKED PRAYER 



City 

where religion 

is simple 

the girl 

all sacrifice 

lingers 

a bead of moisture 

above her eyes 

and the men 

in loose priestly robes 

are white 

comfortable 

sooth-sayers 

smiles 

secret whispering 

lethargic lids 

she tires. 



Russell Folsom 



SaJly Jacobson 



19 




ROY MEDIROS 




20 





— 21 



UNTITLED 

My watch is a second 
in which 

cars pass through the night 
a chained dog barks 
unlinking the moon 



While God sleeps in a desert 

my mother sews in thoughts of a child 

my brother adjusts his hat 

while talking to his son 



And I sit 

at the kitchen table 

imagining myself 

in a red dress 

walking across Russia 

in Jamaca 

along the sea 

with blossoms floating 

To Africa 

my hands touching an ivory tusk 

my dress moving with zebras 

in savanna dust 



Suddenly, 

my dog barks 

at the sound 

of a neighbors key 

and I stare at the confines 

of red and white checks 

on my tablecloth. 



Niki Aukema 




22 



Caroline Fernandes 



DREAM LETTERS 



In print and spacing like my own type, 

the letters smudged 

on pages of no substance, 

yours of this morning received, dear Ann, 

still asleep. 

The phrases shift through my closed, intent eyes 

"accur a gran, no not am my 

abetter to none yo one" 

Changing to cursive script, 

your message finds 

the space accustomed to its countours. 

I know how you move your hands, 

I sense your pace 

reverting to dream, I write on the same 

lucent paper. My hands glow 

in light attracted by my face. 

A sentence forms, co-ordinate with 

the body of your letter 

"visium su um avlun screan 

I nay..." - as much sympathy 

as I can show. 

Aware of its motive, regret half-masked 
by nonsense, my mind constructs 
its dream works, matches longings 
I feel with yours. In deep sleep 
I send them. 

No closing. 

Donald Kelly 



YOU ASKED ME NOT TO CALL 



You asked me not to call 

until late afternoon, 

but I need to talk to you now. 

My mind is full of vapor, 

I'm having a frightening dream. 

I know I'm asleep, time's balance 
has shifted. Night is predominant, 
its forces shape the day. 

My body is a tangle, a retort that burns 
the stuff that I see. 



I put the receiver against my cheek 
where ringing drops of music spill. 

In efficient secretarial style 

you give another number, mention 

office hours 

You read today's quote: "the science of mind 

enables us to see 

real human traits, out attitudes' sums 

and combinations. This is the procedure 

of psychology." 

When your speech ends automatically 
I listen for the tone. My ear burns 
on the plastic 
I hear sizzling, confusion, open wire. 



Donald Kelly 



23 



APATHY 



BRIGHT SAILBOATS GONE 



(The good ship Yulan went down in a fierce storm 
off Gloucester, Massachusetts, on October 10, 1894.The 
abandoned ship, half submerged, had drifted to Long 
Beach by November 1st of that year. It is there 
even today, its hull burried in the sand. After the 
winter storms have carried sand from the beach, you 
may see its bow above the cold waters of the ebb tide.) 

N6 one enjoys the beach today. Unbroken waves return 
Empty to the sand. Fog slips over the peninsula 
And covers the slate grey water out beyond the reach. 
Ducks huddle to one end of the marsh, moving like pawn 
In an onyx pool. Pipers weave in and out of foam — 
But the fury of past storms has sent other scavengers 
Here before, wading to the blackened timbers, and others, 
Yet others before, crying in the storm, 
Cradling the old bones the sea washes over. 

Loosestrife ruffles in the breeze, all the bathers 
Done, the bright sailboats gone. Only the ones 
Beneath the dark waves' tongue sail, silently 
Holding their own against the water wind. 



I felt it 

before I saw it 

knew it 

was coming. 

At the playground 

the kids chose up sides 

— but no one competed. 

On the battlefield, they 

handed out weapons 

— but both sides surrenderd, then 

left arm-in-arm to celebrate. 

Springtime, 

the plants went on strike, 

one night they just 

shut off the power. 

Sitting in the dark 

you turned your back 

— and I didn't even notice. 



Todd Parent 



Jane Gale 




24 



Todd Parent 



GUERNICA 1937 



Guernica 

threw shades of black 

and white 

you cry 

of gnashing teeth 

technology 

which chews up all 

humanity 

Guernica 

we hear you scream 

threw open mouths 

outstretched arms 

dismembered organs 

strewn apart 

hands, toes, breasts 

licked 

by tongues of fire 

ferociously devouring 

All life reduced 

to the hollow bellow 

of a beast 

and what is worse, 
guernica, you weren't the first 
guernica, and neither will you be 
the last. 

Stephanie Goldstein 



AIRBORNE 

It's a very personal matter 

Why you won't find me there, 

trapped inside a net of sky. 

Face scraped by the window-glass. 

As close to heaven as one can get. 

Walking down aisles of skin and teeth, 

Counting drinks, leafing through magazines, 

The world opening like a valve. 

You will find his shoes next to her torso, 

and that is the only way they could have met. 

Below, eagle and bear aren't speaking 

Korean? American? Russian? 

tell me which one do you become 

after your skinned muscles swim in a sledge of sea? 

traitor-breaths talk while they dig the earth. 

their hands are tied behind their backs. 

I is death that lies. 

I see you in a free-fall, ending there. 

keep us airborne, bring us futher 

We wh feel the loss 

We who utter the names 



SPILLED ALE 

Two men confonted each other, 
the insignia of a previous skirmish 
marred one's left cheek. 
He drew forth a knife. 
The other followed suit. 
The knives gleamed in the faint light 
of the seaside bar. 

A deathly silence shrouded the room 
interrupted only by the incessant howling 
of a distant ship's horn. 
The glimmer of their steely stare 
each waiting for a blink of an eye 
a moment of despair- 
The shatter of glass subdued the silence 
drawing one's attention, 
the scarred one lunged. 
A gurgling sound 

as the blade pushed deep into his chest. 
Life, glistening red, gushed. 
His body convulsed 
and slumped into a heap on the floor 
and moved no more. 
Light shone on his face 
revealing to all- 
Steward Smith, cabin boy of the Bounty 
killed over a spilled ale. 



Stephen Sadowski 



T.J. Anderson 111 



25 




DANDELION SOUP 



Ma's fingers they pull 

they are so numb they pull 

potatoes out from boiling water 

stick pins into each other 

clutch steel wool 

to scrub what's already clean 

while 

her heart it guides glues wings on 

the prayer: Dear Lord 

teach us to make something 

out of nothing 
the winding of ritual like bandages 
round every spontaneous impulse 
choking what could have happened 

for years 

her mind holds 

its breath 

becomes 

no color at all 

now it looks 

like a dying cactus 

you see 

the money it came too late; 

listen 

her mouth it 

bites its tongue, then 

speaks 

the truth, the memory 

of picking dandelions for soup 

a bowl of weeds in the muggy afternoon 



Cindy Schuster 



L.A. Madden 



26 



BRIDGE WALKER 



Wake by the steam engine's howl, by the iron and steel 

Of the old railroad bridge 

Shaken with the thud of heavy boots of railraod men. 

Curled above the stinging sea, open your eyes 

To the moss covered ledge swallowed halfway down by foam. 

Wake by the iron and steel 

Unseen, make peace by the shack with good railroad gin 

Tugged frpm a tattered pocket. 

Wake to the steam engine's howl. 

Twirl smoke rings above the old bridge's back 

Hunched and thickened in the chill 



Jane Gale 




■XJtr^'^^.^v'^ 















jM4r 



i 1 





27 



MY SEASONS 



The grass wakes up. 
One spring night — 
peepers scream to life. 
I love to smell sour 
baseball mitts, scrape 
infield mud from cleats, 
drink morning sun with 
the sports page, then 
take that first 
bare assed swim. 

I am mad at summer 
when it finally 
arrives, because it 
has made me wait to 
lose my shoes, forget 
my name, purpose 
in life, and social 
security number. 
Summer's milky nights 
mesmerize me 
I often 

get lost in the sky 
and burn the steaks. 

But wait, summer has 
abandoned us, and autumn 
depresses me, its frosted 
mornings make my brain hurt. 
Raking red leaves doesn't 
seem to help anymore. 
People bundle up, while 
the trees get naked 
I feel sorry for 
naked trees. 

Snow doesn't like me. 

The only thrill 

winter brings, is when 

the air is crisp and 

I piss a design in the 

new-fallen-snow — 

it sends pleasure chills 

up my spine, I watch 

the steam rise, 

then turn slowly around 

to make sure 

— nobody is watching. 



PIG LADY 



The pig lady visited me last night, 

chuckled in my ear. 

Blew fog all over my room. 

Ate rabbits in the bathroom, 

left a furry bloody mess in the tub. 

She sneered at my palms over the mirror, 
peed on my shiny clean sneakers 
suggested I slit my wrists, 
-in bed. 

Her red eyes flamed, 

as she heaved my typewriter 

down the stairs. 

I slipped into my sequined jacket 

the purple one-matching tie, 

very casually. 

Grabbed those barber shears 

snipped a few inches 

off her cute snout. 

Tossed her out the window quickly, 

into the swollen river. 

Then watched her bob up and 

downstream. 

Shortly after 

I fired off a note 

to my trusted attorney, 

explaining my position. 

Took a humble bow, 

and thanked everyone for coming. 

Todd Parent 



Todd Parent 



28 



STATUES 



ACROSS THE SEA 

I was born in a land 

continually washed by the North Sea 

whose flat, fertile miles 

ran east 

touching the arm of Germany. 

I was three 

when Mama's arms held me 

crossing the sea 

in an old war plane 

it's weight falling 

in the wind and rain 

Emergency 

landing somewhere, in between 

Europe and America 

Mama was belted in the seat 

throwing up 

airsickness on the floor 

abov^ the level of the sea 

still holding me. 

In 1949 

Mama stood 

at La Guardia airport 

a heavy woolen coat 

hanging on her arm 

her face flushed 

with Indian summer heat 

looking down at me 

pointing at the plane 

the salt of the sea 

crystallized, 

shining on its wing. 



I walked down 

Commonwealth Ave. 

to Public Garden 

looking up 

at the statues of men 

their coats 

stiff 

in revolution 

a boot, resting on a cannon 

a hand, holding a rifle 

arms, reining a horse 

pawing at the sky 

But, the sailor 
Samuel Eliot Morrison 
newly bronzed 
his long coat 
breathing in the sea 
stopped me 

I stood 

looking at his face 

his smile 

expecting his hand 

to reach down 

and hand me a seashell 

still warm with the secret 

of waves 

rushing in his face 



Niki Aukema 



Niki Aukema 



29 



Loretta Sells The 
Piano 

Brian Patterson 



"Now don't pretend you don't 
care." These are the words she offers 
to him, thrusts at him, as he goes out 
into the world. Tries to go out. Her 
bulk, the bare hammy arms and the 
bosom that seems to stretch from the 
hall closet on one side to the other 
wall, is planted, stolidly, in his way. 
"That's what'll get you lost, Frankie. 
You'll end up not knowing what it is 
you really want." He shakes his head, 
uncomfortable, suitcase in one hand. 

"Ma," he said, "I'll be okay." 

"I know that^'she answers. "I want 
you to be happy." 

"And I know that," he tells her, 
laughing. "Ma, let me go, all right?" 

With a sigh she puts her hands on 
his waist then reaches up, gently, to his 
collar, folds it under and lets a heavy 
hand rest on his tie. Her hands go 
down to his waist. Then up again, the 
collar gets another unnecessary tuck, 
the tie, the weight of her hand. 

"Ma..." 

"Go get your bus, Frank," she says, 
lowering her hands at her sides. He 
dosen't know what to say, and for a 
moment it is quiet. An uncomfortable 
pause. He makes a move towards the 
door and without looking up she opens 
it for him, pulling it back mechanically 
as he squeezes past. He stops, on the 
threshold, the sun bursting in around 
them and then grabs her arm, kisses 
her cheek, and runs down the long 
flight of steps without looking back. 
She shuts the door, carefully, behind 
him. 

"Albert!" she screams when he has 
crossed the street and disappeared 
around th corner. "Albert!" she 
screams again, standing at the bottom 
of the stairs. 

"What?" a thin voice calls back to 
her from above. 

"Albert, get your ass downstairs. 
Your brother's finally out of here." 

"He's gone?" The voice is louder 
now as Albert comes out of his room 
and stands at the top of the stairs. 

"He's gone. Now move. I want to 
get that goddamned piano down to 
Leonard's. See if he'll give me more'n 
five hundred for it." 

"Ma, I can't lift the piano by 
myself." 



"Of course you can't. I'm going to 
get Phil from next door." 

"Me and Phil can't move the 
piano." 

"Phil's going to bring his kid, 
what's his name, Carl? I'm going to 
give them twenty-five dollars when 
Leonard pays me." 

"Ma, I don't think me and Phil and 
Ken, that's his name, Ma, I don't think 
just the three of us can get the piano 
down the front steps." 

"Listen, Albert, you're going to 
have to. I can't afford to pay anybody 
else. You'll just have to find a way. 
Now get down here." 

Albert comes down the stairs, reluc- 
tantly, leaning on the bannister. 
"You'll be sorry when I break my 
back. I'll be ruined for life." 

"Albert, you were ruined for life the 
day you were born. I'm going to call 
them over here now, so get all that 
music off the piano and throw it in a 
box or something. What did you say 
the kid's name is ?" 

"Ken, Ma his name is Ken." 

The piano waits behind them, pa- 
tiently imposing, thrust half-way 
through the doorway. Loretta is 
sedate, leaning on one arm stretched 
out from her body against one of the 
substantial columns that hold up the 
roof of her front porch. "It's the pulley 
theory, Lasserman," she says to Phil, 
who is standing on the brink, looking 
sadly down at the row of tidy cement 
steps stretching to the street far below 
them. 

"If only you lived on some other 
street," he says, mostly to himself, 
shaking his bald head, the sweat 
already glistening there. The hot sun is 
right above them. 

"You went to college, didn't you?" 
Loretta continues. "We just tie the 
rope to one of the legs and then wrap it 
around one of the pillars here." She 
slaps the column. "Then we lower it. 
At our own discretion. Simple." She 
looks at him intently, like someone 
dealing with the retarded. "Do you 
see?" Grabbing her son by one arm, 
she pulls him from the shadows to 
stand on the first step down. "Albert 
can go in front to make sure the wheels 
stay clear and me, you and. ..the kid 
there can hang on to the robe at this 
end. How does it sound?" 

Phil just shakes his head. "I can't 
think of anything better." 

"Well, let's go then," Loretta says 
vigorously, and she hands the rope to 
Albert. 

30 



The piano takes the first three steps 
gracefully as they let out the slack with 
care. Phil is in the front, sitting on the 
porch, his legs braced against the col- 
umn, the rope wrapped around it like a 
thick, brown vein. His son is behind 
him and Loretta is almost in the door- 
way, leaning effortlessly at a dignified 
slant. On the fourth step the piano 
balks. The middle bottoms out, and it 
teeters, the wheels whir frantically in 
the air. 

"Pull on it, Albert," Loretta shouts, 
and they can see his hand slink 
cautiously around the back and then 
grasp the round wooden handle. 
Nothing happens. 

"Pull, for Christ's sake, don't pet 
the damn thing, pull on it!" she shouts 
again and takes one hand off the rope 
to wipe the sweat from her forehead. 
The piano, suddenly, with a grinding 
rasp of wood on the cement, lurches off 
the step and back onto its wheels, tak- 
ing three quick feet of rope with it. 
Phil shoots forward, smashing abrupt- 
ly into the column, his legs wrapped 
around it and his face pressed hard in- 
to the chalky, white paint. 

'Put your weight back into it, Loret- 
ta," he gasps, his mouth pushed 
sideways. "It's all we've got." 

Below them, Albert's white face 
pokes out from behind the piano. "I'm 
your only son now, Ma, remember 
that." Loretta leans back, both hands 
on the rope, with an exaggerated sigh, 
and the piano goes on like nothing 
happened, sliding obediently down the 
hill and finally resting in the street. 
Like a car parked illegally, front end 
up against the curb, it seems satisfied. 

On the porch, Phil and Ken unfold 
slowly, clasping and unclasping their 
hands. Loretta wipes hers, methodical- 
ly, then puts one of them on Ken's 
shoulder. "You want to take the bench 
down and put it on top?" She turns to 
Phil and shakes his hand. "Twenty- 
five dollars when I get back from 
Leonard's," she tells him, and he 
nods. "Unless he gives me less than 
four hundred, in which case..." 

"Twenty -five dollars, Loretta," Phil 
says, still catching his breath. 
"Twenty-five dollars if he only gives 
you thirty." But Loretta is on her way 
down, marshalling Albert behind the 
piano when she gets there. "We'll take 
it from here, boys," she calls to them. 
Albert waves without looking up, bent 
almost double as he puts his weight in- 
to the piano, and it begins to roll down 
the street. 



At Leonard's they park the piano, 
and Loretta rubs a finger along a crack 
in the mirror attached to a bureau that 
is sitting by the door. "I like this," she 
says and pats it. "I might buy this if I 
get more than five hundred for the 
damn piano. 

"What are you doing here, 
Loretta?" Leonard says warily from 
his doorway, his brown sweater wrap- 
ped tightly arund him 

"You look tired, Leonard," she 
says, peering at him. 

"I am tired, Loretta." 

She looks at him, then nods and con- 
tinues briskly. "Come to make a deal, 
Leonard." She smiles broadly. 

He looks at the piano. "Frankie 
must have left this morning." 

"Damn straight. You going to give 
me seven hundred for it?" 

"Seven hundred?" 

"It's worth over a grand, you know 
that, Leonard. You always told Frankie 
it was in nice shape. And we brought it 
down here. Saved you the trouble. 
And"-she looks at him with a serious 
expression-"we saved you the expense. 
I ought to ask for eleven hundred, but 
I know you, Leonard, you're a good 
guy. You give me seven hundred, and 



I'll go home smiling. Might even take 
this old bureau off your hands." She 
slaps the top of it. 

Leonard purses his lips, and steping 
out of the cool shadow of the doorway 
he stands, his hands on his hips, and 
contemplates the piano. He stretches 
out a hand and presses one white key 
down. The note that sounds is faint. 
"You won't buy that bureau. After I 
pay you you'll find something wrong 
with it. It'll cost too much, that's what 
it'll be." 

"What's the price?" 

"One hundred and fifty." 

"And you got it for seventy five. I 
admire you, Leonard. You got yourself 
a business here, and you know how to 
run it. But I'm an old friend. You're 
not going to stiff me, are you?" 

"Stiff you?" 

"Only give me six hundred when 
you know you'll get a thousand for it. 
You wouldn't do that to me, would 
you? Give me seven hundred, and 
you'll still be making three hundred 
dollars. Not bad for storing the thing 
until some sucker comes in and 
decides he's got to have for his very 
own." 

"I won't get a thousand for that 



piano, Loretta. I'll be lucky if I get six 
hundred." 

"Leonard, for Christ's sake, don't 
pull your tricks on me. I'm a friend. 
You can be honest. Like I said, I ad- 
mire your business sense, I really do." 

"Loretta, I won't get more than 
seven hundred. There's no way I can." 

"What do you mean, no way you 
can? Make up a sign, Leonard, that's 
all it's going to take. Write in big black 
letters: this piano is worth thirteen 
hundred dollars but I'll give it to you 
for an even thou. How does that sound, 
Leonard? Easy as cutting farts." 

"Ma!" Albert has been sitting on 
the curb resting his forehead on the 
keyboard of the piano. Loretta looks at 
him intently. 

"This one, Leonard, sometimes I 
ask myself, where did this kid come 
from? Is he really mine? I could never 
understand Frankie, with his music 
and all, but this one. ..this one's a 
frickin' Martian. Shut up, Albert, turn 
around and shut up." 

"Ma..." 

"Shut up." 

Leonard is looking at the ground 
and his shuffling feet. "Loretta," he 
says, finally dragging his head up to 





CM1 Painting by Rose Webb 



31 



look at her. "I can't give you seven 
hundred for the piano. It'll have to be 
four hundred, or I won't make any 
money." 

"Four hundred." 

"It's got to be, Loretta. I'm going to 
have to sell it for six hundred. You can 
come down and look at the price if you 
don't believe me." 

"Four hundred." 

"It's my final offer." 

"It is not." Loretta is indignant. "I 
didn't expect this from you, I really 
didn't. You're talking about a two 
hundred dollar profit. That's if you do 
sell it for six, which I find hard to 
believe. I could set up shop across the 
street and sell the damn thing for six 
myself. Not even bother with you. The 
middleman. That's it, I'll just cut out 
the middleman. What's it like being a 
middleman, Leonard?" 

"Loretta," he interrupts her weari- 
ly, "I have to pay the rent on this 
place, you know. I have to pay the girl 
to run the counter. I have to pay for 
heat and the lights, it's not going to be 
a clear profit. At six hundred it will 
hardly be a profit at all." 

Loretta gazes at him heavily and 
then turns to her son. "Albert, we're 
going to have to take it up the street, I 
guess. I can't get by on four hundred 
dollars. Sorry we couldn't work things 
out, Leonard. I still respect you." 
"Ma. Where up the street?" 
"To that Caldonie place, what's that 
guy's name, Leonard?" 



"Caldonieri." Leonard sighs deeply 
and rubs his hand along the smooth 
black wood of the piano top. 

"Goddamn Caldonieri. Get up, 
Albert, let's get moving." 

"Ma, Caldonieri's is almost thirty 
blocks away." 

"Albert, it can't be thirty blocks. 
Don't sass me. We can't leave the 
damn thing here. If we start now we'll 
get there sooner than if we wait until 
you're all through whining." 

"Loretta, it's at least twenty blocks 
to Caldonieri's. You two can't push a 
piano twenty blocks down the street." 
He is shaking his head and he pats the 
piano ruefully. Loretta is very grave. 

"Well, I don't see what else we're 
going to do with it, Leonard. I'd much 
rather do business with you than with 
old fathead Caldonie, but four hun- 
dred is simply not enough for such a 
fine piano." 

"I'll give you five hundred. That's 
it, though. I won't be making any 
money." 

"I was hoping for more than..." 

"Ma!" 

"You shut up, Albert." All right, 
Leonard. Five hundred is probably not 
the most I could get, but I understand 
your position and I like to keep my 
business in the neighborhood." 

"I won't be making any money," he 
says as he hands her the check. She 
laughs and gives the piano a good 
whack with the flat of her hand. 

"C'mon, Leonard, you don't have to 



keep up the game for my sake, you 
know that. It's a pleasure seeing a 
good businessman at work, but we're 
old friends." 

Leonard smiles grimly. "I just hope 
you spend that wisely, Loretta." 

"Wisdom is my middle name, 
Leonard. My middle name. Just this 
morning, for instance, as old Frankie 
ran out the door, I told him, 'Frankie, 
don't you forget to care.' I told him, 
'That's what'll do you in.' That's 
wisdom, you know that, Leonard, real 
wisdom." 

"Ma." 

"Albert, why don't you just walk on 
ahead, I'll catch up." As he leaves the 
shop she whispers loudly, "He's a 
good kid, Albert, but he drives me 
crazy." 

"Still thinking about the bureau, 
Loretta?" Leonard asks her without 
conviction. 

"Well, I'd sure like to, but with only 
five hundred..." She makes sad click- 
ing noises with her tongue. "And 
besides-" she reaches out and shakes 
the bureau as they pass it, "-the damn 
thing wobbles." She shakes his hand. 
"Thanks again, Leonard." 

"Thank you, he replies faintly, ben- 
ding down to examine the wounds on 
the piano where it scraped the stairs. 

"See you soon." 

"Oh yes," he says, and stretching 
painfully upright he watches her walk 
along the street, her big ass shifting, 
up and down, with each gracious step. 




32 



The Gully 

by Anderson Archer 



Standing In The 
Hall 

by Bill Farrell 



1am entering into a familiar, yet seemingly strange environ- 
ment, even though I religiously go there each afternoon 
after a long tiresome day. The entrance, as usual, is marked by 
the presence of a green, colorful gate of tall, contorted, yet stur- 
dy plants, grasses and a variety of flowers. I proceed onward, 
observing the gradual increase of flora. 

I am now about five hundred yards into the gully, cautiously 
descending the gentle slope of the land. One can, without any 
doubt, receive an extraordinary feeling of peace, both in mind 
and in body, as a result of being in this tranquil environment. I 
sit on a heap of green, soft, lush grass, allow my mind to wander 
as I gaze hypnotically at the gentle swaying of the green leafy 
trees and tall, slender, glossy moss. This hypnotic state is now 
interrupted by the mooing of the cows that are camouflaged 
among the tall grass. Sheep and goats now join in the chorus. 
My mind is now fixed on this peculiar choir— the cows, bass 
note; the sheep, the tenor; and the goats, the soprano. What a 
choir! I love it, so I join them too. Bravo! Bravo! 

My attention now focuses on the minute menbers of this 
ecological system. My searching eyes spot ants feeding on bits 
of food particles grasped firmly in their mouths and busily mak- 
ing their way to their underground habitats. The ants seem to 
be busily moving in different directions to and from one cen- 
tralized location— a dead bird twenty yards to my left. I stared 
agape, interestedly observing the mysterious ways of the ant. 
For example, their organized way of transporting objects. No 
wonder God said in His great book, the Bible, "Go to the ant 
thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise." The activity of 
the ant, though soothing to my mind, reminds me of the hustle 
and bustle of the outside world. The grasshoppers, the bees, 
and the colorful butterflies, seem to be sharing the same peace 
and tranquility that I am receiving. As the sun slowly descends 
behind the tall sturdy mahogany trees it covers the entire gully 
with a liberal splash of tinted gold. What a refreshing scene! 

The northerly section of the valley slopes gently down toward 
ground level, exhibiting a sparsity of flora. The topography of 
the south is steep and rugged with an approximate proportion 
of sixty percent solid rock to forty percent flora. I can now see 
the "Eden" of the gully— this gully. Here in "Eden," I see 
dots of well dispersed colorful flowers amidst the green lush: a 
spot of yellow here and a spot of red there. This "Eden" is a 
magnificent work of fine art. The blending of the trees, lush 
grass, rugged stone, steep and gentle relief with a splash of 
golden sun rays, create a sense of peace and tranquility which I 
daily find irresistible. Here I habitually scan the beauty of the 
gully. My once nervously wrecked mind, now soothed with the 
refreshing scenes of this environment, is now, once again, ready 
to face the hardships of the outside world. 



My Catholic school, Our Lady of the Multiple Orgasms, was 
controlled and operated up to the fourth grade level by two 
orders of nuns who were known primarily for their violence. 
The boys' and girls' schools were seperated by an eight foot 
high brick wall, topped with barbed wire and broken glass that 
was cemented in place. 

The boys were drilled by the Sisters of Brutality and the girls 
were trained by the vengeful, love-starved Sisters of Chastity. It 
was rumored at the time (1938) that both orders were members 
of the German-American Bund, Stormtrooper division, 
women's auxiliary. 

My school did not have a principal as did public and private 
schools — we had a Commandant. I cannot say for certain how 
many of the nuns had prison records, but I am sure that it was 
more than a few. Sister Philistine, a huge, hairy brute, was my 
third grade drill instructor. Her mustache made her look like a 
truck driver in drag and I was terrified by her — constantly. 

One day Sister Philistine caught me talking in class and tore 
down the aisle after me. When she reached my desk, she began 
to berate me. I couldn't stop looking at her moustache; it was as 
full as my uncle's. She knew that I was eyeballing it and scream- 
ed through her teeth at me: "What are you looking at!" 

I was shaking and near to tears, but being only eight years 
old, I answered her truthfully. "I'm looking at your mustache." 
It was like open season. She proceeded to beat the shit out of 
me, and when she was finished, she grabbed me by the ears, 
threw me out of class, and made me stand in the hall. 

If you are Presbyterian, you may not be familiar with the 
term "standing in the hall." 

Any teacher who saw you standing in the hall could take a 
shot at you — as often as they liked. Standing in the hall was a 
dangerous thing. One nun, Sister Severity, always gave me two 
shots when I was standing in the hall across from her door. 
Every time she went to the bathroom, she whacked me — one 
going and one coming back. One day she went to the bathroom 
fourteen times. I had never seen a person's hands so swollen. 

They would not let me go to the bathroom when I was stan- 
ding in the hall. I would have to relieve myself in Patricks Ken- 
nedy's locker. He was the smartest kid in class. 

One day Sister Severity actually spoke to me. She asked, 
"Why are you always standing in the hall?" I was beginning to 
feel like a restroom attendant. It seemed that every time she 
went to the bathroom, I was standing in the hall. I think she was 
having some strange ideas about me always being in the hall; 
you know, like I was watching her. I did not answer questions 
like this anymore, because no matter what my answer might be, 
I ultimately got slugged. 

It was ten o'clock and I had been pulverized twice. I knew I 
had a difficult day of school ahead. I was tired, lonesome, and 
missed my friends in class. Many no longer recognized me 
because I spent so much time out in the hall. I was out in the 
hall so often that they gave my desk to another kid. 

I sat down on the floor and began to cry. I cried so hard that 
by the time I heard the click, click of the Rosary beads it was 
too late to stand up. It was the Assistant Commandant. He 
patrolled the building looking for people like me who spent a 
great deal of time standing in the hall. 

I was slapped, punched, kicked and then dragged to the Com- 
mandant's office for further interrogation about my sitting in 

Continued to page 40 



33 



The Return 

Philip Glaser 



John Winn was still sitting in front 
of his CTR at 6:00. Everyone else in 
the office had left at 5:00. It was not 
unusual for him to stay later, and get 
more work done. He did so not for 
need of catching up on work left un- 
done; he worked harder and got more 
done than anyone else in the office, 
and he knew it. Every night, he con- 
sidered the proposition of whether or 
not to stay at the office late, usually 
coming to the same conclusion: the 
sooner he went home, the more time 
there would be to find some use for. 
And, although he was aware that it was 
beyond the call of duty, he always 
knew there were reports to be done, 
marketing projections to be computed, 
and plenty of success to be had. 

He knew the thirtieth floor of the sky 
scraper well: the coldness of the 
overhead fluorescent lights, the soft 
whirr of the ventilation fans, the cons- 
tant hum of the computer, and an oc- 
caisional rumble and rattling of the 
windows, which was the result of a 
wind tunnel created by the building's 
architects, had all become very 
familiar to him on his solitary work 
binges. He appreciated working at this 
time more than any other; he could be 
truly alone, with the machine. He did 
not hate other people, but he found 
nothing in friendships. He was 
satisfied being with the computer: he 
could communicate with it, as it was 
perfectly predictable, neither having 
emotions to express nor challenging 
them in him. From time to time he 
thought about female companionship, 
but he would usually dismiss the idea, 
knowing he was too busy. Besides, he 
could turn to his work for solace from 
desire, although somewhere in the 
back of his mind he knew it was no 
replacement. 

He gulped down the last of his coffee. 
The building rumbled. When he look- 
ed down to type in some figures, the 
words, POWER SHORTAGE/CAN- 
NOT CONTINUE, were flashing on 
the screen. He stared in disbelief. Such 
a thing had never happened to him 
before. If there was enough electricity 
to run the lights, he thought, the com- 
puter would surely continue operating. 
With the resolve of an accident spec- 
tator who decides to call an am- 



bulance, he phoned the physical plant 
office. "Sorry Mr. Winn," a voice on 
the other end of the line informed him, 
"But the power in the basement where 
the main computer bank is has gone 
dead. Don't think we'll be able to do 
anything about it 'till the morning." 
He looked about his desk to see if there 
was anything that could be done 
without the computer. Indeed there 
was, but he was not attracted by the 
idea of staying without the computer 
at his disposal. He waited several 
minutes, hoping that the voice on the 
phone had been wrong, and that the 
computer's power would come back on 
before the morning. Nothing happen- 
ed. He collected his jacket and brief- 
case and started out. 

It took what seemed to him several 
minutes to reach the elevator. His path 
lead him through the long rows of 
desks which were squarely aligned 
across the large room. His shoes made 
a dense clicking sound against the 
hard, polished floor. Over the din of 
the firm's daily activities, the sound 
was barely detectable; but at this hour, 
it reverberated brightly throughout 
the empty office. Looking down, he 
could see a distorted reflection of his 
body moving along the floor, a dark 
shape against its glossy, clinical 
whiteness. The hard surface ran into 
the carpet of the entrance area, where 
the cigarette and candy machines 
were. He passed by the vending ap- 
paratuses to the foyer, to find the 
elevators. 

He pressed the down button. While 
waiting for the elevator to make its as- 
cent to the thirtieth floor, he looked at 
the security guard, who was reading a 
magazine. There was a plastic plant in 
front of the guard's desk "Hey," John 
said, "Didn't there used to be a real 
plant there?" 

"Yup," the guard responded, his 
eyes still trained on the magazine. 
"But it was too much trouble to water 
it. So they put in a fake." 

"Shame," John said at the bottom 
of his breath, knowing the guard was 
no longer listening. Suddenly, he 
wondered why he had happened to 
notice the plant, let alone enquire 
about it. He heard a bell ring. 

The elevator door opened; he got in. 
It was empty, as he expected. The 
elevator would move him swiftly to the 
ground floor, from where he would 
take the subway home. He watched as 
the lights over the door, placed in 

34 



rows, one above the other, each with 
it's own floor number, moved in an up 
and down pattern. For a second, they 
melted into one another, and he lost 
track. The elevator started to slow 
down. He thought it was strange that 
anyone else would be in the building at 
that hour. The motile light above the 
door stopped at fourteen and the door 
opened. Four women got in. Each im- 
mediately went into the seperate cor- 
ners of the elevator. John was struck by 
the efficacy with which the women ex- 
ecuted this movement; it was like a 
ballet. He felt they were together, yet 
they said nothing to each other. 

As the elevator went on, he looked at 
his watch. It was 6:15. Suddenly the 
elevator started to slow down. And 
then, instead of coming to a smooth 
stop, it jerked to a halt. None of the 
lights above the door were on. He had 
not been looking at them, but guessed 
that they were between the eighth and 
ninth floors. He looked around. None 
of the four women seemed to notice. 

"Must be broken," he said, expec- 
ting a reply. But they said nothing. He 
walked over to the door and picked up 
the emergency phone. "No one 
there," he said, again looking around 
at the four women. They said nothing 
and expressed no interest in their 
predicament. It seemed as though they 
were all staring into the corners direct- 
ly diagonal to them. But he noticed 
that their gazes were focused on a 
point before the corners, in the exact 
geometric center of the chamber. He 
shook his head quizzically and picked 
up the phone again. This time so- 
meone responded. "We're working on 
the problem," the voice said. "Main 
cable's jammed. Don't worry. Have 
you out of there in about a half-an- 
hour." 

He hung up the receiver and moved 
away from the phone. "It'll be half-an- 
hour before they get this thing 
moving," he said. Again, there was no 
response. They were still staring 
towards the center of the elevator. He 
began to study them. Trying to 
distinguish their visages through the 
dead stares, he found nothing striking 
about them. They were plain, dressed 
in faded blue jeans and loose flannel 
shirts of different colors. None had the 
same color hair, but it was for each the 
same length. All were of the same 
height and build. And each carried a 
pocketbook, again of the same style, 
yet in different colors. They all must 
Continued to page 3g 



Rats 

J.W. Walker 

My film begins tracing a fence 
aound a vacant lot. Background syn- 
thesizer plays "I'll Remember April." 
Plywood joins ground and air, dirt and 
smog. The earth is thawing; the sky is 
falling, tumbling in huge chunks as the 
building is leveled within the fence. 
Between skyscrapers daylight strobes 
in shade and sudden illumination. A 
highrise next door throws darkness on- 
to its ancient brother. Innocent 
destruction: life-sized tonka trucks 
push building blocks in a sand box. 
The anarchy sign is spraypainted red 
on the whitewashed fence-no visible 
life. But there among the ruins 
something stirs. That's where Harry 
comes in. 

Harry-Hare for short, as in rabbit- 
has always been in and out of my life— 
either and both, depending on how 
you look at it. But he's hard to see. 
You see, he's visible through the 
mind's eye turned inside out. That's 
one way, but it's kind of like a see-saw 
kind of relationship. 

Inside jokes? you ask. Yeah, all an 
inside jab. Hah. You see of course. Or 
do I need subtitles beneath the lines? 
(Did you really see what you 

say you saw? 
Either that, or else you think 

you saw it 
But can not recreate it just 

because 
Memory can tell at one time 

you saw it.) 
Anyway, every night at dusk's 
pinkish glow I would stop filming, 
draw the blind, and shave. From a 
heap of semi-clean clothes I grabbed 
jeans and western shirt. Since quitting 
as a projectionist I'd done most of my 
time inside. That was months before. I 
had to break out. I wanted to reprime 
myself for the human race. I said, 
"Let's go to a bar, Hare." 

"Boots and a Roman nose," Hare 
said. "Caligula. The decline of modern 
western culture with civilization's 
westward movement." These jokes, 
these inverted explanations, ex- 
troverted intranslations and what not: 
me les amusais. I sometimes even smil- 
ed just thinking them. But lately 
they'd been floating farther and far- 
ther out there. Harry was grating. 
"Grate the right americian film," he 
said. "Cheesecake, cupcake. Gel 



babycakes." He was an idiot. For 
weeks he compared our movie to a 
Stooges' western: Moe has guns and 
Curly shoots himself yelling 
"sabatoochie!" 

Truthfully, I suggested he imagine 
himself as a leary fool to get him in 
the head of his movie role. But he 
became 3/D-death, dying, destruction, 
I suppose. Saying he could kill his eyes 
turned to steelies shooting for impact 
alone. 

This was all, as you see of course, 
horribly Harry. I'd learned to ignore it 
or not. When I was four he even 
dissappeared for a while. That summer 
we went to Stu Emerald's to see the 
sea-monkeys.The ad in the magazine 
had promised: 

"Ancient Sea-Monkeys. 

Primative Sea-crets 
Materialize before your very 

eyes. 
I never saw them-paid a nickel into 



Stuey's sweaty palm to see an envelope 
of dust mixed with water. Stu and the 
rest felt ripped-off. Hare told me he 
saw the monkeys. I told him that was 
because he didn't put a nickel in. You 
see, I saw by then that other kids could 
not see Harry. That's why he could see 
the sea-monkeys. "See monkeys," 
Hare said. 

Leaving the apartment I'd had it 
with Harry-existential star or not. 
(Joke, right? See the movie 
"The Action Pack" 
For clues to mankind 
throughout the. ages) 
"Repellent," I said. "You're a 
human repellent." 

"Repellet," Hare said. "Repellets, 
yank the lever, yank it again. Repay- 
ment of the pavement." We passed a 
bum. Harry made sure I saw him-his 
turbaned or bandaged head on the 
door stoop. "Look at that," Hare said. 
Continued to page 38 




Roy Mediros 



35 



Wantin Things 



She was thirteen. He was the social 
worker's husband. He let Maggie drive 
his red convertible on the isolated road 
behind the dump, breathing in her 
face, his hands over hers on the steer- 
ing wheel. She told him she knew how 
to drive, her Uncle Jason taught her 
last summer, in the field behind the 
barn. He said, "Well, I don't want to 
take any chances." He put his hand on 
her thigh. She wished she hadn't worn 
shorts. He said, "You've got a heavy 
foot, slow down." 

Maggie remembered his footsteps 
coming up the stairs, the door open- 
ing. She closed her eyes tight as his 
Weight began sinking into the side of 
the bed, bending over, whispereing, 
"Wake up, wake up," till her ear 
began to itch. Then the match would 
strike, the first cigarette of the morn- 
ing, blowing smoke over her head. His 
hand running over her back, then stop- 
ping and pressing hard. She had 
wanted to scream but didn't. She roll- 
ed over and pulled the sheet over her 
eyes, pretending to be asleep. He sat 
smoking one cigarette after another, 
clearing his throat, waiting for her to 
wake. 



The social worker bought her 
clothes that were too big. She would 
open up the dictionary and quiz her on 
the meaning of words, had her write 
them out big and clear, saying "I can't 
believe they never taught you that." 

At night they both sat watching t.v., 
watching her, saying the most impor- 
tant thing is an education, you'll never 
get that back home and it must be ter- 
rible being stuck in the middle of 
nowhere without a phone and isn't it 
nice having a t.v. 

He bought Maggie candy and gave 
her a dollar bill every time she washed 
his car. After his wife had gone to 
work, he'd sit in the kitchen talking 
about Mrs. Gronski, who lived five 
houses down, how the hairs on her nip- 
ples were black but her hair was blond, 
how Linda, the girl next door, a year 
older than her, was a hot bitch who 
walked like she wanted something bet- 
ween her legs. Maggie didn't say 
anything. Just waited and waited for 
him to go. He didn't have to be at work 
till ten thirty. 

One day he was sitting in the living 
room watching t.v. before going to 
work. Maggie was washing dishes. He 
said, "Come here...do this..does it feel 
good?" She said "No." She didn't feel 
a thing. "Come here." She sat on his 



Niki Aukema 

lap, looking out the picture window. 
Cars went by. She wanted to cry but 
couldn't. 

She stole twenty-five dollars that was 
lying in the jewelry box on top of the 
dresser in their bedroom. Left a note, 
thanks, I'm going home. She sat on the 
porch, back home, watching the dust 
rise above the trees, counting the cars 
go by. Usually five a day, six counting 
the mailman. The social worker wrote. 
They were building a swimming pool 
in the back yard, that it was okay about 
the money, and if she wanted to come 
back let them know, they'd send her 
the bus fare. 

Maggie wrote and got the money & 
week later. On Saturday, a neighbor, 
Nat Meadows gave her and Aunt Jessie 
a ride into town. She walked into Son- 
ny's Appliance and bought a radio 
while her aunt was buying groceries at 
the A&P. On the way back home Aunt 
Jessie asked her what she had in the 
bag. She said a radio. 

"A radio! Why honey, where'd you 
get the money?" 

"The social worker from Richmond 
give it to me..." 

"Well, why didn't you tell me she 
gave you money. I barely got enough 
for the two of us and you go out and 




Gail Rush 



36 



buy a radio." Aunt Jessie looked at 
Nat and said, "Well, what do you 
think about that?" He smiled and kept 
his eyes on the road trying to miss the 
potholes. "Next week you go back and 
return the radio. Honey, we can't af- 
ford no radio." 

Maggie felt the heat prickling at her 
skin and broke out in tears. "Why.' 
can't we have a radio, everybody else 
has got a radio." Her aunt turned 
around looking at her in the back seat. 

"I never should of sent you to Rich- 
mond while your uncle was sick. Ever 
since you came back from there you've 
been wantin' things. What I don't 
understand is why you came back so 
soon after they were so nice buying 
you clothes and all. Next week the 
radio goes back." Maggie looked out 
the window biting her lip, trying to 
stop crying, holding onto the radio in 
her lap. 

The car pulled into the dirt driveway 
and stopped behind Uncle Jason's car. 
She opened the car door and ran into 
the house holding the radio in her 
arms. Aunt Jessie looked at the car, 
sighed, her voice low. "I wish her un- 
cle was here. They got along so good. 
He'd know what to do." 

Nat put his hand on her shoulder. 
Now don't you worry. She's just young, 
that's all. They're always wantin' 
things." 

Aunt Jessie began shaking her head 
as she opened the car door. "I never 
should have sent her to Richmond. I 
should have kept her right here with 
me for Jason's funeral. But then Mr. 
Holmes at the church said they were 
nice people. I don't know. She just 
ain't been the same since she's come 
back." 

Nat took the groceries out of the 



trunk. "You decided what you're go- 
ing to do with Jason's car yet?" 

She looked at the car again. "Seems 
kind of useless just sittin' there don't 
it, and me not bein' able to drive." 

He handed her a bag of groceries. 
"It's a good car. I could get you six 
hundred for it easy." 

Aunt Jessie looked at him, confused. 
"Well, I don't know. I was thinkin I'd 
try to hang on to it. Keep it for Mag- 
gie, till she can get her license. She 
already knows how to drive it." 

They walked to the front of the 
house. "Well, you just think about it. 
No rush." He opened the screen door. 
Suddenly they heard a man's voice 
talking and then music coming from 
inside the house. They looked at each 
other, startled, and then smiled, 
remembering the radio. 

They walked into the kitchen put- 
ting the groceries on the counter. Aunt 
Jessie stopped and listened. "I always 
like reading better than the radio." 
She looked at Nat standing at the 
table. "Why don't you sit down and 
have some ice tea before you go?" 

He wiped his forehead with the back 
of his hand and sat down. "That'd be 
fine." 

"Maggie's mama loved music, would 
sit and play the piano for hours. Drove 
my daddy to where he nailed the part 
that slides over the keys shut. Course 
she played by ear, never had no 
lessons." She walked to the icebox, 
taking out a lemon, cut it and handed 
Nat a piece and sat down. "That was 
when we lived in the old Sutter house. 
They left it there cause it was too 
heavy to move." Her mama was six 
then, I remember I was twenty-one, 
had just gotten engaged to Jason. She 
headed straight for that piano, started 



laughin' and bangin' away on them 
keys." She looked at Nat's glass. "You 
want some more ice? Melts fast in this 
heat." 

"No, this is fine." 

"Funny what you remember. I just 
can't forget that look on her face all 
white and tired the day Jason and I 
took her to the hospital. Six months 
later, she's gone. Leukemia." 

Nat finished his tea. He got up. The 
chair made a scraping noise on the kit- 
chen floor. The radio upstairs got 
louder. "You hear any more from 
Maggie's Dad?" 

"He's still workin' in a lumber mill 
in Seattle. I get a check now and 
then." 

"Well, I better get goin', and don't 
you worry bout Maggie. She'll be 
okay." She walked to the door. 

"I'll stop by next Saturday to see if 
you need anything." She thanked him 
and closed the screen door. On the way 
back to the kitchen she stopped at the 
bottom of the stairs listening to the 
music coming from Maggie's room. 
She heard a high clear voice singing 
with a deep one. 

She sat at the table drinking the rest 
of the ice tea. Tonight she'd write a let- 
ter to the social worker sayin' she 
didn't approve of them giving Maggie 
money and that she'd pay them back 
when she could. She got up and started 
putting the groceries away and then 
sat back down, looking out the window 
at Jason's car and listening to Maggie 
sing, trying to think what Jason'd do. 
He'd let her have the radio. For a se- 
cond she thought she saw him bending 
over, polishing the chrome on the 
bumper of the car. She caught her 
breath, let it out slowly, and got up to 
put the rest of the groceries away« 




Caroline Fernandes 



37 



Continued from page 34 

be from the same milieu, he thought. 
He resolved that they were from the 
dance school, which was on the four- 
teenth floor. Their silence irritated 
him. 

He sat down on the floor, his back 
against the wall opposite the two steel 
doors. He looked up at the four 
women. He found them very banal, yet 
was also facinated by them — which he 
did not understand. His inability to 
comprehend his facination perturbed 
him. He had always been compelled to 
understand completely everything 
around him, and felt out of control 
unless he did. 

It occured to him that the four 
women were all very similar. It was un- 
canny. Despite their different colored 
shirts and different colored hair, each 
of their faces had the same ap- 
pearence. He looked at one, and then 
moved on to another, and another. 
Several times, he went around in a cir- 
cle, examining them. He found himself 
losing track of which was which. They 
all melted together. All at once, a 
strange feeling came over him. It was 
as if there were some kind of ritual 
happening around him. Yet it was 
below his world, below his understan- 
ding. He felt nervous. Then, he realiz- 
ed that he had been working straight 
since 7:00 that morning; and had done 
so every day that week; and had done 
the same every week before that, for at 
least as long as he had been working. 
He hence attributed the strange feel- 
ings to fatigue. He looked at his watch. 
It was 6:30. 

II 

Out of the darkness came singing 
voices. He was floating and felt relax- 
ed, more relaxed than he could ever 
remember feeling. The voices came 
closer; and although not sure of who or 
what they were, he knew they were 
there to help him, feeling more and 
more safe as they approached. Soon, 
out of the complete darkness, he 
distinguished, although not brightly il- 
luminated, plain and clear, a halo of 
softish white light surrounding each of 
the four women. They came close, 
stopped, said nothing, and stared at 
him. Before he was aware of it, they 
were dancing around him in a circle. 
He began floating upwards* high, out 
of the circle. 

Still moving upwards, he looked 
below, and could not see them 



anymore. Yet he felt they were still 
there. He now knew they were within 
him. 

He suddenly stopped floating. He 
felt a vacuum pulling him forward. He 
began moving very fast. A vertical 
sliver of light was ahead. It began to 
widen, the light becoming brighter. As 
he came toward it, the vacuum lessen- 
ed in force, and he slowed down. He 
went forward with anticipation. He was 
coming alive. 

Ill 

"Hey, you all right, pal?" he heard. 
He opened his eyes to see a man stan- 
ding over him. "Yes," he said, 
disoriented, "I was just sleeping." He 
looked forward and saw that the 
elevator doors were open. It was the 
ground floor. 

"Where are they?" he asked 
abruptly. 

"Who?" 

"Those four women." 

"They walked out when the doors 
opened." 

"Oh," he said, sadly. 

"You all right?" the man asked, 
again. 

"Yes, I'm all right." He got up. 
Once on his feet, he began to walk out 
of the elevator. "Hey, don't forget 
your brief case," the man said, almost 
startling him. 

"Oh...Yes...Thanks." He felt dazed. 

"Have a good night." 

"You too," John said. 

He walked towards the revolving 
doors on the other side of the lobby. As 
he proceeded, his feet made the same 
sound and his body the same reflec- 
tion against the floor as they had in the 
office, thirty flights up. But he did not 
pay any attention to either 
phenomenon. Instead, he kept his gaze 
focused on the revolving doors, and 
the late afternoon June sunlight 
beyond. He reached the doors and 
spun through. 

He looked around. It was warm. 
There was little traffic, so he could 
hear some birds in the trees above 
him. Impulsively, he walked towards 
one of the trees. They were man- 
planted and manicured, but they were 
real. I need to get out of the city, he 
thought to himself as he approached 
the tree, I haven't been out of the city 
in years. When he reached the tree, he 
stood and stared at it. He was amazed 
to think that he had been walking in 
and out of the skyscraper for so long 
and had never stopped to look at the 



trees. When he looked upwards, he 
could see through the branches, as 
much as two large buildings which 
almost blocked it would allow, the 
sunset, its orange and red mixing with 
the translucent green leaves of the 
tree. After several minutes he started 
home. He had been planning to take 
the subway; but he decided to walk. 



Continued from page 35 

"Mystic. Amnesia." I looked away. 

"Look back there," Harry said. I ig- 
nored him; words were sixshooters, liv- 
ing the ammo. We were still playing 
cowboys and indians. "There, can you 
see him?" Hare crouched to the crack 
between sidewalk and fence, watching 
and waiting. Then a whack pierced 
the night. At first I thought someone 
had been killed. Harry could not have 
made the sound. The fence was shak- 
ing. 

"There's millions back there. 
They're millions." 

"Go join them, then," I yelled. He 
had stopped. "Join them then" 
echoed. A woman scurried from cab to 
building; she did not look at Harry, 
staring up from the ground. I turned to 
the white fence, peering into the lot of 
jagged bricks, and the dolls, their arms 
and splintered furniture scattered. 
Over them swarmed a pack of rats. 

I froze. Sometimes when we've been 
drinking we start fake fights. Hare was 
stalking me. Resting tensely against 
the fence, I waited. I spun around, an- 
ticipating a punch, but no one was in 
sight. The trash-filled streets were va- 
cant and quiet, yet from the stillness 
came laughter broken by the wind. 
Harry was in the shadows. I could not 
see him--I had never--I knew. He was 
out there. Streetlights rattled, 
something rustled by the fence. I rush- 
ed it and fired into the darkness I saw, 
that was all I could see. And Hare was 
gone--not there to be seen. I balanced 
on my boot-heel uneasily: I was stan- 
ding on a dead rat. 



thanks 
Donna 
et al. 



38 



Continued from page 9 

and arms; his breath was labored, and 
his side had a sharp pain. "Oh, Cod, 
please don't let it land on me. Oh G--" 
Peter ran over the edge of the railroad 
cutting and crashed on all fours onto 
the crushed stone ballast at the edge of 
the tracks. Instantly, an enormous 
weight crashed onto his back, driving 
him into the ground, which seemed to 
explode in his face like a great flash. 

"Are you okay?" It was Colin's 
voice. 

"Ahhhh-" answered Peter, trying 
to suck air into his paralyzed lungs. 

"Jesus, I didn't mean to land on 
you, but you just disappeared right in 
front of me and..." 

"I'm.. .going.. .to... kill.. .you," wheez- 
ed Peter. 

"You wet your pants." 

"No, I didn't. You squeezed it out 
of me. It's not the same thing at all." 
Peter was trying to sit up. 

Colin pulled his knees up under his 
chin and began to chuckle; soon Peter 
joined him. and then they howled. And 
pounded the ground. And rolled. And 
then Peter remembered. 

"My house! Oh God! If it hit my 
house, I'm dead." 

They scrambled back up the em- 
bankment and ran through the woods 
to the clearing, pulling to a stop pan- 
ting when they saw Gershon sitting on 
the stump inspecting a cut knee. 

"I fell over the block and tackle. I 
figured I was dead anyway, so I just 
laid there. I heard a big crash over by 
your yard, Peter." 

"That's it! I'm dead. I'll just run 
away and get a job picking tobacco or 
something." 

"It's not that bad," said Quimby, 
strolling in on the path that led to 
Peter's house. "It landed on Dickie's 
shed and wrecked part of it." 

Peter began to recover immediately. 
"We can get that fixed before my 
father gets home!" 

"That's not all, Peter." Quimby 
hesitated. "Dickie's dead." 

"Oh God! That's worse than hitting 
the house. My father's had that horse 
for thirty-eight years." 

"There '8 not a mark on him. I think 
he had a heart attack from the noise." 

Gershon and Colin eyed each other 
nervously, as though they might bolt 
again. 

"Wait a minute, everyone! Let's get 
this thing taken apart and hidden, and 



I'll try to think about what to tell my 
father." 

The boys fell to work with axe and 
spade and machete, and in an hour the 
only trace of the great project was four 
evenly spaced holes in the middle of 
the clearing. 

"Come up with your story yet?" ask- 
ed Gershon, biting a blister on the 
palm of his hand. 

"No. Look, you guys go home, and if 
anybody asks, you were fishing over at 
the pond all day, okay?" 

Quimby and Gershon looked reliev- 
ed. "Okay, Peter. Good luck, huh?" 

"Want me to come with you, 
Peter?" 

"Naw. Thanks anyway, Colin. I'll 
give you a call tonight if I'm still 
alive." 

Peter marched manfully down the 
trail to his house, back straight, hands 
at his sides. Getting the bucket back 
wasn't important now. Emerging from 
the woods he saw the wreckage of the 
shed. The great stone was partially 
wrapped in galvanized steel roofing. 
Dickie was on the far side of the shed; 
his front legs had buckeled under him, 
and his neck was stretched over them. 
One great eye seemed to stare at Peter, 
and the aged yellow teeth were bared 
in a malicious grin. 

"Asshole horse!" Peter screamed. 
"I shovel your shit for the whole sum- 
mer, and you do this to me! why 
weren't you out walking around or 
something?" The horse continued to 
stare and grin. 

Peter heard the sound of a car in 
front of the garage and at the same ins- 
tant the idea came to him. It was all he 
could do to keep from racing across 
the yard and around the garage to the 
driveway. Instead, he came mournfully 
around the corner into his father's 
sight, head down, hands in his pockets. 

"Hey, kiddo! What are you up to?" 
His father always greeted him the 
same way. The stock answer was, "Oh, 
about five three," or whatever Peter's 
height was at that particular moment. 

"Bad news, Dad," Peter intoned 
soberly. 

Mr. Weaver's eyes flickered quickly 
over Peter, "what's wrong, son?" 

"I may as well tell you right out, 
Dad. Dickie is dead." Peter paused. 
"He was frightened to death by a 
meteor." 



Continued from page 6 

from under her, and she landed with a 
soft plop on the seat. 

Gail's face felt all pins and needles 
as the blood rushed to her head. Her 
heart was pounding and her voice 
quiet and wavery. "No kidding. My 
mother's coming any minute. You bet- 
ter go. She'll be mad if you're here 
when she comes back." 

"No!" You and me are running 
away from here and getting married. 
Just show me how this car works." 

"Is there a problem here?" 

Everyone in the car was taken by 
suprise. They hadn't noticed the elder- 
ly man approach the car, and for a 
minute nobody spoke. Then the girls 
all started at once. 

"He wants to drive...." 

"He hit me...." 

"My mama's comin...." 

The boy pushed the car door open 
violently, knocking the old man off 
balance, and took off across the park- 
ing lot like a shot. They all watched 
him go. 

"Here's Mama!" cried Lisa. 

Gail's mother ran toward the car. 
"What's the matter? What's happen- 
ed?" 

Doreen chose this moment to bust in 
long, loud sobs. 

Gail recounted the event, and in the 
telling the boy grew bigger and 
stronger and meaner by the minute. It 
had been a frightening experience - 
-Doreen's sobbing verified that - - but 
it was also a golden opportunity to 
make her mother feel really bad about 
leaving them in the car. The old man's 
presence only added to her mother's 
embarrassement. 

"I only left them for a few minutes," 
her mother explained to the man. 

"No, you didn't," countered Gail. 

Her mother's look told her to be 
quiet. She listened as her mother 
thanked the man for his help and as 
she tried to calm Doreen down. 

Her mother took her keys from her 
bag and started the car. Doreen and 
Lisa now gave their versions of the 
story, each trying to out do the other in 
making the boy seem most terrible. 

As they drove onto the street, Gail 
saw him, thin as a reed, standing in the 
bushes at the edge of the lot. He didn't 
move, just raised his hand slowly and 
waved as they drove away. 



39 



Continued from page 33 

the hall. He worked me over thoroughly and then called my 
mother. I don't have to tell you what happened when my 
mother arrived. I was assaulted five times and had not even 
touched my lunch. Couldn't go to this type of school on an emp- 
ty stomach. 

When I was eight, I did not know what the quality of educa- 
tion meant. If I had known, I would have said: "ANYTHING 
WOULD BE AN IMPROVEMENT ON THIS." 

My day wasn't over yet. When my father came home, there 
was a good chance that I might get stiffened again. 

My mother sent me to my room. I looked at my head in the 
mirror; it was much larger now than when I left for school in the 
morning. I also noticed that I was developing scar tissue over 
my eyes. I also decided to ask my mother to place me in a 
school where the curriculum was less difficult. 

Between beatings and time spent standing in the hall, there 
was nothing left for study. I learned some things while standing 
in the hall, like which nuns had bladder problems. But the most 
important thing I learned while standing in the hall was that I 
could really take a punch, and that alone helped me survive Our 
Lady of the Multiple Orgasms. 



Continued from page 7 

his but chose instead to pay. Witnessing this unpatriotic act 
and drawing on the strongly emphasized American doctrine of 
"take as much as you can whenever you can," my companion 
arrived at the obvious conclusion: "That woman is a fool," he 
pronounced. A lesson well learned. 

Then there is this business of claims that students are 
graduating from high school as fuctional illiterates. This simply 
isn't true. Oh, I admit these people may not be able to read, but 
this in no way impairs their ability to function in American 
society. After all, who wants Huckleberry Finn or Moby Dick or 
today's headlines for that matter, floating around in one's 
head, muddling thoughts in the middle of a hot Pac Man 
match? Why, it would be a positive liability! I'd be willing to 
bet that in a country such as Sweden with its so-called "model" 
school system your average eighth grader couldn't score over 
five thousand at Pac Man. Five thousand. That's sort of sad to 
think about. 

Lastly, thanks to our system of education the United States is 
the world leader in the field of advanced partying, so important 
in the light of world-wide economic chaos. According to U.S. 
government reports the average sixth grader in America is now 
•able to roll a quality marijuana joint in under forty-five 
seconds, a remarkable "figure" which seems even more so 
when compared with statistics from twenty years ago which 
reveal that the average sixth grader didn't even know what 
marijuana was, let alone how to roll it. This encouraging upsw- 
ing in awareness of the everyday dynamics of drug abuse is by 
no means limited to marijuana. Indeed, today's young people 
are able to get higher, faster, on a tremendous assortment of 
drugs — ranging from beer to LSD — than any generation 
before them. How naive of the doomsayers to ignore the im- 
mense strides being made in this area. By 1990 I wouldn't be 
surprised if third graders could freebase coke with the best of 
them. 

I could go on and on citing examples of how well America's 
young people have absorbed the education imparted to them by 
popular media, parents, schools, peers and society as a whole. 
Suffice it to say that staple aspects of the American way of life 
such as greed, selfishness, dishonesty, lust, hedonism, and the 
callous disregard for the rest of the world are being taught and 
learned, even embraced, with more commitment and en- 
thusiasm than ever before. The quality of education on the 
decline in America? Nonsense. 



i 




Continued from page 11 

In the wake of this rash of Northampton incidents "Two les- 
bians were raped - one by a group of men in a van - and a third 
was beaten unconscious. Two of the victims reported that their 
attackers made lesbian-hating statements during the assults.", 

Innumerable instances- of more subtle condemnation and 
discrimination abound, substantiating the point that 
homophobia is alive and thriving. Until the fear and hatred of 
lesbians and gay men is overcome, we must stand alert to the 
possibility - - however slim - - that homophobia may again run 
distastrously rampant. We must keep in mind what the conse- 
quences of this hatred might be. For this reason, the history of 
Nazi persecution of gays cannot be denied. History must serve 
as a constant reminder: a reminder of the persecution of the 
past, and a reminder of the violence that continues. 

ITEM:k note in the April 8, 1983 issue of Gay Communi- 
ty News reveals that "Exhibits recognizing the persecu- 
tion of non-Jewish persons will (also) be included in a 
museum dedicated to the Holocaust. ..The museum is 
scheduled to open in 1987 in Washington,DC, and will 
cost approximately $30 to $40 million." 
Among the list of recognized victims will be gays. 

******* 



Notes 

1. Sherman, MartiniBent New York, Avon Books, 1979. "Bent" is a fictionalized 
drama. For a factual account by a gay survivor of a Nazi prison camp see: Heger, 
Heinz, below. 

2. Heger, Heniz-.The Men With The Pink Triangle. Boston Alyson Publications, 
1980 (page 13). 

3. Rector, Frank: The Nazi Extermination of Homosexuals. New York, Stein & 
Day, 1981. 

4. Rector, above (page 123). 

5. Domenick, Tony: "Memorial to Holocaust Will 'Ignore' Gays." Gay Communi- 
ty News, 15 July 1978. 

6. "The Nazi Extermination of Homosexuals," an article reviewing the book of 
the same name (see note 3):New York Times, 10 May 1981 (section 7, page 20). 

7. Clark, Jil: "Gay Man Bashed Near Bars."Gay Community News, 9 July 1983 
(page 3). 

8. Brudnoy, David: "The Missionary's Position on Sex." Reason magazine, 
December 1982 (pages 3842). 

9. Clark, Jil: "Northampton Lesbians Fight Hate Campaign." Gay Community 
News, 12 February 1983. 



40